Abstraction was not my initial interest when I began formally studying art. It was some time before the impact of it drew me in. When that “happened,” my response was coincidentally and profoundly emotional and intellectual. For me, abstractions inspire reflection and meditation and become an experience of the body, mind, and spirit. The colors and spaces, and sometimes the visually changing or shifting spaces, reflect the experience of life itself for me. I am stimulated to search for or to create order.
My interest in large spaces springs from a childhood spent in open landscapes and big skies. Painting with oils, I enjoy creating quiet, peaceful experiences that can bring a sense of a spiritual presence to the viewer. As I work with oils and the blending of pigments, I often reflect on events — past, present, and possible – and conditions of human experience, response, thought, and conduct.
Working in acrylics, on the other hand, is more immediate and direct for me. I am more likely to focus on the initial responses to color and space: how colors relate to each other within the flat space due to their intensity and hue; how colors push and pull each other for placement in perceived space; the effect on the whole canvas of the length, breadth, or narrowness of a line, a brushstroke, or a color; and the creation of perceived depth and space that all elements of painting bring to a work of art.
I feel that viewing abstract art is quite a different experience from viewing objective art; it is an internal experience and often takes more time to understand and appreciate. As one looks at an abstraction, the viewer’s internal (emotional and mental) responses become the actual subject of the painting, rather than the subject being an immediately recognizable “object.” Colors as well as spaces that appear to have been created in an abstraction will, hopefully, in time, bring the viewer to sense his or her own deeper thoughts and perceptions as they relate to personal experience and understanding of various worlds, or spheres, of interest.
I was born and grew up in eastern South Dakota. My exposure to visual arts began well before entering elementary school. My mother guided early experiences with crayons and pencils. I spent a great deal of time drawing and coloring very early on. At the age of three, I sometimes colored walls and family photographs, to the annoyance of my mother.
As a student at the University of Georgia, I explored various forms of expression – photography, clay, inks, colored pencils, and paints – while earning a Bachelor Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting. In my studies, I was struck by Mark Rothko’s work, which evoked a deeply emotional response to simple color, and Donald Judd’s minimalist structures for their simplicity and stark beauty. I settled on paints to express myself in the abstract, which often takes on a minimalistic nature.
I returned to South Dakota briefly for the simple pleasure of “going home” and living where one can see wide horizons, big skies and vast sunrises and sunsets. My move to Western Colorado several years ago was inspired by an interest in the spacious and colorful landscapes, blue skies, and the dry, mild climate.