I paint images of the sublime in life. I enjoy producing paintings that are pleasing and hopefully arresting. Art speaks to the human spirit, and I want to tap into what is bright and promising in human potential. Art is powerful, and not just for its inherent beauty, but also because it can elicit emotion and provoke social commentary. I admire Norman Rockwell’s genius for capturing poignant moments in life, and seek to do the same in my own artwork.
Positive experiences prompt a chemical release in the brain, which makes people feel good. Research has brought to light that even negative experiences produce a similar chemical (dopamine) release. This helps explain why sad music can make people feel better and tragic books or plays are considered be the best literature. Clearly then, an artist does not need to stick to painting beautiful things in order to tap into the sublime. Adversity calls forth the human spirit, that indomitable aspect of people that prompts them to rise to the occasion. I prefer art, literature, and theater that reflect our human condition—our feelings, struggles, triumphs, dreams, and predicaments.
My career has been as a psychologist and I have brought that perspective to my painting, choosing to mostly paint people. My training helped me learn to read the inner lives of people from body language and facial expression. In my paintings, I attempt to express what I see and experience in life that can be communicated effectively through an image. My pieces are intended to elicit ennobling feelings, evoke memories, and depict human striving.
I have been drawing and painting sporadically since my teenage years, but in 2009, while on sabbatical from my academic position, a close friend gave me a book that changed my life. It was The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I didn’t care for the “new age spirituality” flavor of the book, but the author’s two major instructions to artists struck a chord with me. The first was to write a morning paper each day, reflecting on your life. I began doing this in April of 2009, and haven’t stopped. I try for one typed page per morning. The second instruction of Cameron’s was to have “artist dates” by yourself, during which you spend an hour or two alone each week soaking up an experience that could provide food for thought (or stir your emotions). This could be a visit to an art museum, an antique shop, the beach, or whatever might provide inspiration.
I have studied drawing and painting through college courses for some years, and am currently studying portrait painting with a living master, at his Torrance studio. Sometimes I use a couple of reference photos and other times I work from life. I have worked exclusively as an artist since June of 2016, settling almost entirely on oil as my medium. Although I adore impressionistic and painterly paintings, realism is just “me”.
My work has appeared in two Redondo Beach Art Group Power of Art shows (2015 and 2016), three CA 101 shows (2017, 2018, and 2019), the Rejoice in Art show (2017, 2018, and 2019), the Pasadena Art Show (2018 and 2019), the Southbay Festival of Arts (2018), the Strawberry Festival (2018), four Redondo Beach Library shows (The Impressionists, 2016; April in Paris, 2017; and Coastal California, 2018, Weather or Not, 2019), a Redondo Beach Art Group Impressions show (2017), a Redondo Beach Art Group show in 66th Assembly district representative, Al Muratsuchi’s office (2018), Las Laguna Gallery 2019 Women in Art Show, COAL Gallery Annual Juried Show, 2019; Front Porch Gallery Annual Juried Show 2019, Torrance Artists’ Guild Annual Show, 2019, a solo show in Torrance, featuring 30 pieces of my artwork (2017), a solo show in Torrance, featuring 15 pieces (2019). Last year, I was honored to receive seven awards for my paintings. I had two paintings in a show at Thousand Oaks Community Gallery in February, 2020, just before the pandemic closed down in-person events. I was delighted to receive another award at that show. I managed to win three additional awards during 2020, without my paintings being seen in person. One show was in New York, where “Child’s Play” won second place. That is something which would not have happened during normal times, since I only enter local shows. In the Destination Art show for emerging artists, my painting, “Almost Shirtsleeve Weather,” won first place and my other painting in the show, “Child’s Play,” won the art-lovers award (a people’s choice acknowledgement).
As we cautiously emerge from the pandemic and venture to offer our art creations once again in public art shows, I am delighted to have been accepted for six shows for Fall, 2020, two of which are online. My painting, “On the Beach” won Honorable Mention in the Torrance Artists’ Guild’s annual show and I had two paintings, “African Mother in a Blue Dress” and “Righetti Ranch Road” win the popular choice award in two small competitions for Torrance Artists’ Guild members.