Like the pairing of complimentary flavors, my paintings showcase an endless variety of saltwater seashells realistically rendered against backdrops of brilliant abstraction in a large scale watercolor format. Gathered from worldwide shell markets, subject specimens may hail from far distant shores to as near as coastal South Florida. A painting begins with a curated grouping of these shells staged and photographed from various perspectives. Enlarged images of select photos are then transferred to paper as penciled outlines and filled in with removable rubber masking fluid.
Background patterns reminiscent of ocean currents, tidal pools, surfaces reflecting day or night skies, clouds and other atmospheric effects are common themes. These are painted first, layer by layer, using transparent color allowing the paper beneath to reflect through. Translucence remains a continual goal, even in the creation of darker backgrounds or more intense color themes.
Each wash is dried thoroughly before the next is applied, ensuring a visual blending of color rather than an actual mix of wet paint simply running together. Backgrounds composed of 3-5 layers are designed to delicately compliment or dramatically contrast with their respective subjects. When the final wash is completely dry, the rubber resist is peeled away and work on the foreground begins.
Moving back into previously masked areas with additional pencil drawing, I lightly render subject shells in more detail. Then I begin to paint keeping in mind the ever present challenge of creating volume while retaining a crispness indicative of the medium. Prior to foreground completion, I frequently work into any background areas that appear incongruent, intentionally striving to marry these two elements. Resultant works have been described as restorative and relaxing as well as upbeat and energizing.
Whenever I create I feel compelled to generate a decidedly upbeat feeling in my work and nourish the viewer’s soul. Against all the many images with which my audience is bombarded daily, I strive to generate a visual reminder of what’s real, beautiful and enduring. Regardless of whatever may be happening in the viewer’s interior world or the world without, our planet continues to turn. The sun rises, tides ebb and flow and life in the natural world carries on in a truly amazing and affirming way.