When I began oil painting in 1999, I discovered a medium of expression that was heavy, solid, and elastic. The paint was malleable but consistent, and I was finally able to manipulate shapes and colours to my desire.
Since then, painting has become as necessary to me as language; I need both to connect with people and with the world, as well as to maintain a sense of self. Oil paint is my medium because of my visceral relation to it: the way it blends colour; the way it smells; the way it feels on the brush and palette knife; the way it comes to rest on the canvas while always giving a visual sense of slow and sure movement. Unlike other media, oil paint for me is of the body.
My application of paint varies from thin, controlled layers to thick impasto strokes. I work from photographs to ground my images in material reality. In my portraits, my need for accuracy and precision is obsessive, but such need balances the textures that envelope the face. Every muscle and surface is connected, so that every different expression, however subtle, affects the entire system of lines, contours, and corners in singular way. In this little universe lies the personality of my subject, a personality that I can convey if I pay close enough attention. The backgrounds of my portraits hold the figures in a way that gives a sense of how these people are loved by others.
The passages I paint lead to a place where the eye can imagine but the self cannot go. Objects that obstruct these passages also point and invite the viewer toward their vanishing points: gates, vehicles, clouds, buildings, trees. These passages are both constantly closing and opening to invoke a sense of anticipation and movement.
My experience with commissioned oil paintings began in 2002, and I have developed an aesthetic dexterity of working from one or more photographs to paint loved ones and memorable places for others. While technical accuracy is always a priority in my representational work, I aim also to capture the subtler effects of a scene. The act of translating photograph into oil painting involves the pleasure of returning to the experience itself and, in doing so, of recovering the depth and weight of memory.
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