"Do not imagine that I would disregard that thing that lies beneath the mask ... but be sure that when the outside is rightly seen, the thing that lies under the surface will be found upon your canvas."
William Merritt Chase
All great art has been created in the context of its own time as well as in that of the art that went before it. In the past, art served a purpose in society that was usually of a practical nature, in service of the powers that ran that society. Today the role of art is less defined and more subject to individual expression and interpretation. Yet one might argue that in our quickly moving and changing world, a beautiful work of art is more poignant than ever.
I find beauty in many places, from the human figure to a lone cauliflower to ruined buildings in Baltimore. It is not so much the thing itself, however, that moves me, but the power of light to transform the real into something magical.
I love painting many different things, but the portrait has always been one of my favorite subjects. There’s nothing like watching a person’s personality unfold on his or her face as you draw or paint them. It is the small movements, such as the curl of the corner of the mouth or the eyes, that lend expression to the sitter, and observing those subtle changes makes the interaction between the artist and the model dynamic. If a snapshot captures a moment in time, the artist working from life has the opportunity to observe and document the inner person as it manifests itself over time.
Although I’ve been engaged in this praxis for many years, the artistic process for me is a continuous road of learning and discovery. There’s always one more image to capture, one more challenge to overcome, one more idea to explore. Painting and drawing are lifelong endeavors, but the journey is endlessly exciting and one lifetime never seems enough to explore all that could be possible.
I feel grateful and extremely fortunate to be able to dedicate my life to the making and teaching of art.