Paintings and drawings in watercolor, ink, and pencil. Small sculptures in stone, ceramics, and paper mache.
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I’ve always drawn and painted. I didn’t try to make a living doing art, but I always did it for fun and relaxation. My mother called me up in 1987 and suggested that we take a watercolor workshop together at Sitka, on the Oregon Coast. We took an excellent five-day course and I’ve been drawing and painting more regularly since.
We sold the Bay Area company I was working for in 2000, and moved to Gualala full time, which was my ticket to try art fulltime -- I loved it and kept getting better at it. Then in 2004, I took Robert Milhollin’s stone carving class and began sculpting regularly. I have tried metal sculpture, ceramics, and paper mache, but stone carving has been the most satisfying.
What do watercolor and stone carving have in common for me? First, both are about shapes – lights/darks, colors, and textures are secondary. Second, with both, you always need to keep in mind what you are leaving. In watercolor, you are leaving whites. The “left whites” are just as important as the darks. And with stone, as Michelangelo said, you cut away everything except what you want to keep.
During the past year the subject matter I’m interested in has varied from insects to peoples’ hands and bodies; to the landscapes of local farms; to cityscapes of San Francisco, Alameda and Oakland; and always coastal trees, rocks, and ocean. Unlike most watercolor artists, I like strong darks and distinct shapes. The use of inks is helpful with darks so I often use pen & ink in my watercolors.
During the past year, I carved one piece of soapstone, several of alabaster, one of calcite and several of marble. The hardest rock I worked on was the “picasso stone” carving “Picasso’s Penguin.” It is so hard I broke three chisels on it. When a chisel stutters on one of the black rocks in picasso stone it makes sparks as flint would. This rock will be impervious to the weather outside, as will the marble, whereas the alabaster and calcite will start breaking down in the winter rains, so they should be kept indoors. You will also see some paper mache and wire sculptures in my studio, plus some ceramics and assemblage pieces. What they have in common is that they were all fun to make.