I have always been fascinated with art. Even when I wasn't painting, I created fabulous masterpieces in my head. Imagination is such a big part of what I do, that it is hard to say exactly when I decided to "become" an artist, it feels like I have always been one. Art class was always my favorite part of high school. I took my first college class at Columbus College of Art and Design when I was 16, then enrolled there full time when I left high school. I did 5 and a half years there, most full time, but a little part time too, as an illustration major. About the time I was finishing my junior year, I decided I wanted to be a fine artist, not a commercial one. Odd circumstances prevailed, and I ended up taking an extended break from school before going back to Ohio State and finishing up with a Bachelors in Fine Arts.
My work has gone through many different phases, from very representational to totally abstract. For the last couple of years though, I have been focusing on the same technique and working on refining it. It is all about the process for me now. I have decided to let my paintings become what they want to be, instead of deciding for them. I start by making my own "paint". I use mostly organic materials, i.e. walnut shells, tea, coffee, beets.... things that have naturally beautiful colors that can be converted to strong dyes. I then splatter cold press watercolor paper with the dyes and let it dry. Sometimes this just involves dumping it on while the paper is in my bathtub. Other times it involves squirt guns and children. Occasionally my roof and buckets get in on the act. Suffice it to say that there is no control on my part over this part of the process, which is the whole point.
The second step involves just looking at the splatters and seeing the shapes that have been made. I can then start to pull out the shapes that I see within them. This is where the process becomes very important. I have a fairly strict set of rules that I must abide by. I can only outline the shapes, I cannot alter them. I can add arms and legs, but nothing else. I can paint in features, but only where naturally occurring shapes or color variations already suggest them. As for the background, I can enhance what is there with line, add stems, leaves, wood grain, etc, but I canít draw in anything that is not already suggested by the shapes and color variations. The splatters become creatures, and the creatures have whole worlds and stories of their own. They all have names, which are derived from the type of paint that they are made of. For example, the one made from walnut shell dye are "Walnutians". The beets are "Beta Vulgarians", which is the Latin name for beets. The ones made from tea are "Liptonians". You get the idea. The stories that evolve with the splatter creatures become the titles of the work, and the paintings become book pages, with one line of text that gives the viewer just enough information to create a story of their own.
This is where I am with my work now. I love these little creatures, and all their adventure, drama, and sadness. They are not so different from you... or I... or most of the other human creatures I know. I hope you enjoy visiting with them.