Since I began my current method of painting several years ago there have been many comments that the work seems to be inspired by graffiti, which is true to a point. I had been experimenting with abstraction since attending Red Deer College in the mid-1980's but never felt truly at home in that form of expression, not as a completed painting. Shortly after that, my husband gifted me with a graffiti pendant from David Rice jewellery (I have been obsessed with his work from the moment I first saw it) in Winnipeg and I loved the circles and lines and began incorporating that into my play. I still begin all of my paintings this way, painting circles and lines in a huge variety of colours - these days my favorites run from green gold, dioxazine purple and pthalo blue, to quinacridone magenta, napthol red and alizarin crimson (that one seems to be a staple) - and then returning to add images once those initial layers have dried well.
I have also been asked how I began this work. It was an interesting transition as I had begun painting a canoe for myself because I missed my northern home so terribly, and much like the chairs I had painted for so many years I began a simple canoe image against a simple background, At the same time I was playing (as always) with abstraction though I rarely shared it publicly. I took an online painting course for fun (a Christmas gift to myself) and one comment struck me...that was to take everything you loved and combine it all. So, as I stared at the canoe and abstract paintings that were sitting side-by-side in my studio, I thought I might as well go for it and began drawing a canoe on the abstract. Years ago Calgary artist Audrey Mabee suggested that I just go straight to my canvas by drawing with a paintbrush and I have followed that advice to this day. I was nervous but since I have always enjoyed drawing I thought I might as well try...and I believed it wasn't as if I would be showing the work to anyone in any case. I also kept a spray bottle and rag handy - they are great to remove wet acrylic paint if things go horribly wrong. But I liked it. So I began to paint around the image in order for it to stand out better. And I liked that, too. Then I decided to add other images I liked...and it seemed to work, plus it was so much fun.
Prior to that I had been struggling with my work. I knew I didn't want to paint chairs anymore (though there is still a demand for them and I do paint them on occasion). I knew I wanted to do something different but I also knew I wanted to love whatever it was that I did as I had loved the chairs. And I really do.
AIRdirondack Art Project