My work is defined by mark-making, color and the interplay of one with the other. Though each medium is distinct from the other, they cross-pollinate and inform the totality, as well as providing continuous avenues for new challenges and explorations. Color reflects the gestalt of my creative process - its emotional underpinnings. My imagery comes from memories of landscapes deconstructed into abstraction. I believe as Camus said that the oeuvre, the life-work, is the journey back to the simple great images on which the heart first opened. For me, this is always the landscape.
This work is a synthesis of my mixed media monotypes and constructions. I use many of my familiar materials to create marks, but am not creating an overall pattern as with the monotypes. Starting with a pieces of Rives BFK, my ground is painted gouache and watercolor. I begin to layer materials on top of this, as well as using watercolor pencil and crayon for mark making. The major breakthrough in this work is allowing space for “breathing” within the piece. From making the constructions, I learned that I do not need to cover the entire piece with drawn or painted marks; I can add wire, thread, wool, and collage for mark making in other areas. The overall effect continues the dimensionality of the constructions while incorporating the patterns of the monotypes.
Mixed Media Constructions
These are a series of 12”x 12” pieces mounted on wood panels. In this work, I no longer focus on painting or drawing marks as I have done previously. I am exploring the dynamics of mark making and its interaction with color by using various materials rather than drawing the mark on the paper. I am interested in building out from the paper forcing the piece into a dimensionality, which had previously only been implied.
The genesis for this work comes from my experimentation with tapestry. I quickly realized that my aesthetic was not well suited to this process. The experimentation with tapestry pushed me to a more profound realization; I did not have to restrict my materials, but rather could embrace anything that I wanted in any way that I wanted to use it. I decided to incorporate many more of the materials and techniques from my handmade paper. My starting point is painting gouache and watercolor on paper for the ground. I continue with other materials, such as different types of thread and wool, wire, collage of older work, buttons and whatever detritus is in my studio. As I saver of everything ever used in my work, I have years of snippets of things to re-use in new pieces.
Mixed Media Monotypes
Originally, I viewed monotypes as a way to use paint in a different context from my oil paintings and watercolors. This view quickly evolved once I began to look at the monotype as a step and not the end of the process. I took the original monotype and remade it into something entirely new. After going through the press, monotypes are generally enhanced with watercolors. Initially, when I enhanced my images, it was to heighten what was already on the paper and to bring forward areas of color that did not quite come through the press. This enhancement quickly evolved into something much more. I decided to use the original monotype as an “outline” to push the image into a completely different place. It is this enhanced “enhancement” that is the focus of this work. Using water based media, such as watercolor, watercolor and gouache pencil, and crayons, I add lines and dots and shapes over the original image. To give the piece more dimension, I cut and paste pieces from previous monotypes thus redefining the surface by adding texture. These collaged pieces not only add another dimension, but also create new lines and marks on the work. Having made extensive use of thread in my handmade paper work, I began to incorporate thread into the monotypes as well. Incorporating the thread has given me the same opportunity as the collaged pieces to create different types of marks, color and texture. Using all of these various materials has pushed this work to a different and distinctive place.
Making paper from pulp allows me to control the piece from the beginning of the process. I am able to embed objects into the wet pulp creating marks, shapes and texture inside the paper. Once the paper is dry, these initial marks and patterns are extended by using watercolor, thread, wire, and pieces of fiber, as well as collaging previously made handmade paper onto the surface. The final image is created using these myriad materials and techniques. Recently, I have begun to focus on using only thread, wire and collage to create the image without watercolor. I sew thread onto the paper thus creating marks without paint. The sewn thread allows for a more thoughtful use of mark making, as well as adding texture. I find that sewing adds to my relationship with the piece while the small scale lends an emotional intimacy to the work.
I begin with large areas of color on the canvas and gradually introduce texture and marks. Building layers of dots, lines and shapes forces each succeeding layer to interact with the layers below until the painting resolves itself into a whole. I use my “mixing time” to give myself space to ponder the blank canvas in front of me until I "see" where the marks will be placed. I use the placement of the colors, marks and shapes to create a natural conflict amongst them that ultimately leads to integration and totality. As with my mixed media monotypes, using thread in the handmade paper led me to explore using thread in my paintings as well. The thread not only creates additional marks on the canvas, but also produces shadows that become another layer of marks. Using the thread has given this work a new direction adding further complexity and dimensionality in a surprising way.