Describe your general career path?
After I graduated from Penn, I worked as an Activities Therapist at the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital with severely young adults who were undergoing psychiatric treatment. I was responsible for the “Art Room” and we had every type of medium available. I was there for three years. Then I left to study painting at the Pennsylvania Academy for two years. After two years I felt the need to give up painting for economic reasons, so I worked in marketing and advertising for a few years.
After getting married and having children, I once again began to take art classes and eventually rented a studio and turned it into a profession. I have now been painting and teaching for nearly 25 years.
For those not in the art world, describe what your process is in creating a painting? Which mediums do you prefer? How long does it take to create a painting?
I work only in oil. Generally I like to work “en plein air” (outdoors) from life, to do small studies (sketches). I also take many photographs. Then I create large compositions in the studio using the photos and sketches as reference. It can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks to finish a painting. I try to work on several subjects at a time. Sometimes I lose interest in a subject and put it aside until I feel sparked to finish it.
Your colors are so vibrant. How do you create them? How do you choose the right painting support?
I use a classic palette and tend to exaggerate what I see to produce more contrast on the canvas. I use smooth primed canvas for my larger works. Sometimes I stretch them myself, but generally I purchase pre-primed canvas. I like to work on primed boards for the smaller pieces because I like the hard surface, and there are many great options now on the market.
Your water paintings are spectacular? Is it the water or is it you?
Capturing the look and feel of water can be very difficult but very satisfying when I’ve been successful. I like to paint realistically, but I am drawn to a much looser style. Painting reflections in the water allows me to be looser (by loose I mean the brush strokes are visible) and thus more abstract - something I hope to achieve more of in my overall painting style.
Do you use psychology in your work? Is there a different psychology for urban paintings vs. landscape?
There is not really any psychology in the way I paint. I am simply trying to create something on canvas from a subject that appeals to me. Painters will tell you that they see paintings everywhere - we are always looking for the next composition. It can be a blessing and a curse, because sometimes you see a great painting but you have no tools with you to record it, or there is no time. The other day I was working on a painting of a tractor and mulch pile behind a barn. An hour later, the farmer decided it was time to spread the manure with the tractor, so my subject simply disappeared.
For some reason I have this need to reproduce what I see, from my perspective, with paint on canvas.
Describe the process – pitfalls and joys of selling your art? Where do you show them? Who do you target? What completes the sale?
I am currently represented by Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia. They do a phenomenal job of showing my work and giving me great exposure in the Philadelphia area. I also show my work at plein air events up and down the east coast and have worked with many galleries in other locations. My website and Facebook page also provide me with constant inquiries for my work. People often connect with my work on a personal level - for sentimental reasons due to memories of a specific place or time in their lives
Do your paintings have cross-over appeal? Do people in Paris buy your American art and do people who like urban art buy your landscape and water art or are art buyers provincial?
People often like to purchase reminders of where they have been. Most of my buyers are from the U.S., but I do have some collectors from other countries. In general collectors seem to like my urban art or my landscapes, but not both.