Artist's Statement

My grandmother was a drapery maker. She had an over-sized table in her basement, covered in padded thick canvas, upon which to measure and pin her large pieces of fabric. 

That basement was ringed with upper windows on two sides that allowed square beams of light to infiltrate at just the right time of day. The lengths of fanciful fringes and braiding were tucked away under sewing machines and tables, attached to Styrofoam forms with large T pins. I remember sitting under those tables as a child, on the aged floor, pairing and stabbing the fringe into decorative layers while the other children played upstairs with more traditional toys. I don't know if she knew I was down there in the basement, with the old black and white tube television encased in a wood cabinet. My guess is that she did know, and that she allowed me to create. She was also an artist.

Her skilled and thoughtful approach to painting filled me with awe, and I loved to take a peek at what was happening on her easel when we came for a visit.

My work references her creative process. I place cloth on my canvas backdrop, echoing the way my grandmother placed material on her padded tables to make drapery.

I use a method of binding fabric to an underpainting to bring to the surface the underlying conflict between order and chaos found in our surroundings.

Blue Rain

While we associate the term "organic" with free-flowing, natural, and irregular forms, nature--when viewed closely--is highly mathematical and structured. However, the exactness of this structure is subjected to outside forces that cause uncontrollable movement and beautiful outcomes.

As humans, we face a similar struggle to balance disorder and order. We try to maintain a fa├žade of having everything in its place, while the reality of our situation and our emotions may be out of control. As with nature, the struggle between order and chaos makes life interesting and beautiful.

When I come across a scene that inspires me, I take note of the underlying elements of control and organization. I emphasize this undercurrent of precision through the geometry of fabric as I sew it together.

I paint a realistic image of the scene in a way to capture the mood of that particular time and place. I scour my memory for the associated sensations; the way the sun refracts through eucalyptus trees, the blinding traffic lights morphed by rain drops, or the emotion of a figure slouched on a bench.

When the underpainting is finished, I bind the fabric overlay to the canvas with an acrylic medium. As it dries, the folds and undulations of the material are frozen into place. The cloth appears to be wet, and retains some translucency. The sculptural fabric reveals and conceals the underlying painting in a dramatic way. Thus the struggle between order and chaos which is usually hidden behind the details of a scene is brought to the surface, switching places with the more recognizable painted picture.

Fabric surrounds us and we feel a personal connection to cloth. We are constantly embraced by material, and we naturally want to touch it. This natural desire to touch extends to my paintings. The first thing people want to do when they see my artwork is feel it, and I encourage them to do just that.