V RAE - FEATHER COLLECTION
Alaska Wildlife & Sea-life Artist
People frequently ask how I arrive at the style and color in my paintings. The short answer is I paint what I see. Why I see what I see is a more complicated question, but I don't spend much time on that side of my brain. In a sense, my mind operates like a thermal imaging camera. I see the spirit of living things reflected in color and find watercolor the most accurate medium to capture my Freestyle Expressions. But hang on, the application is somewhat unconventional.
I generally paint on canvas with hand-sculpt paper overlay or Yupo (a synthetic fine art paper). The hand sculpted paper surface on canvas provides a textured base that adds dimension and body to the watercolor application, enhancing the three dimension illusion of two dimensional paintings. Another illusory emphasis in my work is the use of negative (white) space. I love negative space. The notion that nothing becomes something only the brain can untangle tickles my conundrum bone.
My more abstract work is direct application of water based pigment on Yupo, a slippery surface that wrestles for control and teases the senses. To paint on Yupo, the surface must be perfectly level in order to control the free flowing movement of watercolor over the synthetic base. The result is a deep, rich, more translucent color than conventional applications. But there's a downside: If I forget and lift the painting prematurely I end up paper-in-hand, portrait-on-floor. Painting on Yupo reminds me of that old Simon and Garfunkel tune Slip Slid'n Away.
Call me a dreamer, but I think all humanity is endowed with the capacity to weave beautifully diverse tapestries of life. Some people smash atoms, some build bridges, others write, or bake croissants. I paint freestyle expressions—reflections of life from a gift I can neither explain nor contain. It's my thread in the tapestry; a connective thank-you to my creator and neighbors for enriching my life with their gifts. I am still amazed by the flavor of a good Pinot Gris; I blink in wonder at the transplant of a human heart, and awaken each morning joyfully anticipating the birth of new life from my brush.