Artist Statement


The Standing People, as the Native Americans call them, are trees and a tree is one of the most majestic entities in world culture. I have a deep love and spiritual connection with them that is well rooted in my childhood. To me, trees have a uniqueness and personality that I love to capture in my drawings and paintings.

A tree's personality, whether I am painting from life or from my imagination, is what I initially capture in my gesture drawings. When drawing from nature, there is always a starting point of just sitting and looking. Since being in nature is my sanctuary, my mind is always quieted by the sounds of the air, the feel of the grass or a lean against another tree. This is how I take in the distinctive characteristic of a tree I am about to draw. I notice the knots, holes, and the movement of a tree and tree's branches. Time varies because I really enjoy this process as I feel connected to something larger than myself.

After spending time looking, its pen to paper. I am strongly influenced by Japanese brushing painting and the approach to line work. I start by focusing on my lines in my artwork and am always filled with great excitement in my first few strokes. I start at the base of a tree, continuing to create lines in a way I imagine the tree grew. I search for areas that I can exaggerate without losing the overall integrity of the tree's personality. Then, the next step is to create the texture of the bark. I love this point because the bark is full of small details of patterns, lines, nooks and crevasses. I use a variety of lines and my creative spirit to work out a convincing representation of the bark.

There is always a meditative point in my process where something inside of me speaks and guides me through my process. It is a step that I often look back at with amazement. Following this step, I take on a more active role in the process. I'll add, subtract, change, and move things around for a stronger composition. Next, I re-establish my lights and darks so that I don't lose my initial excitement. The final stage takes place in my studio, with reference photographs. In the studio, I play with light, color, and texture to create a mood that draws my audience in and one that asks them to notice the beauty in knots, nooks and overall movement of a tree.




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