I paint on canvas directly in a representational, impressionistic approach. I am very inspired by portraits done by Cecelia Beaux, the idea of a modern day Mary Cassatt as seen in the work of Jenny Saville, and abstract expressionists like Willem de Kooning. I find Kant’s interpretation of aestheticism very intriguing. He explains that objective and subjective aesthetics are not mutually exclusive and should in fact be melded together so that the beauty that may or may not be inherent in an object can be pleasing to the viewer regardless. I believe there is beauty in every form which can be translated to the canvas by showing it as it appears naturally. This pushes me to achieve representational color harmony, proportion, and value relationships via a traditional approach to oil painting. I apprenticed with the figurative painter William Whitaker for two years and learned a good deal about the sensitivity and beauty of value, edge and line and have since furthered my studies at the Art Students League of New York and Grand Central Academy of Art. My love of mastering the technical side of representational painting has been further enhanced by these institutions. My experience working for Jeff Koons the last two years and regularly attending gallery openings and museums while living in NYC has made me want to learn to make this traditional form of art more relevant in today’s contemporary art world.
As a lifetime artist, I am drawn to the beauty of both the human condition and the human figure to communicate a message through painting. I grew up in a very conservative, Christian family and small town, sheltered from many harsh realities of the world including dysfunctional families and premarital sexual relationships to save me from becoming a single parent statistic. For me, being raised to understand how important the idea of a strong family is meant not only that children should be raised in a loving home, but that society and the future of our country must maintain strong familial relationships to preserve our nation’s high sense of moral character. I was taught to honor individuals who devoted their lives to raising children. I had a mother who devoted her life to raising children and who aspired that her children would one day become leaders with a high level of integrity and intelligence. She sacrificed her own career aspirations of becoming a nurse and the majority of her free time, so that she could raise my three brothers and me to become strong, independent and self-sufficient adults. I graduated high school as a Valedictorian in my class and was asked to speak in my college graduation, both of which I attribute to my mother’s tireless dedication to helping us be our best. Today, mothers are increasingly being ridiculed and shunned for the idea that they would like to be a mother and housewife. Many would assume doing so means there must be something wrong with them, or that they are throwing away opportunities afforded them during the Women’s Liberation Movement.
For me the connection between my desire to honor what I believe to be true, which is for women to raise children in a stable family environment and yet somehow survive in today’s economy without working full time is a real issue. I portray women who fall on both sides of this issue. Some have a career and choose to give it up in order to spend more time raising a family, while others choose not have children in order to pursue career aspirations. They may even substitute pets for children, while planning on maybe having children in their late thirties or early forties.
But many women today don’t have the luxury of making that choice. Some, who at first only want a career, later realize that they desire to be a mother. They then are unable to make that choice because of massive student loan debt and a dual-income mortgage and fear of taking risks in today’s desperate economic conditions. There is a general idea that many women are dissatisfied with their role of mother or do not want to be one at all. This may have held true in a previous time when motherhood was the only option available, but after all the work it took to gain equal rights in the work force today, there is a growing number that are dissatisfied by the lost opportunity of motherhood, as well.
These paintings depict women in cold, planned out environments and illustrate how different social institutions dictate our behaviors. They show idealized perfection and reference stale commissioned portraiture as well as the “ideal woman” from illustration of the 1950’s.