I have a deep reverence for the natural world, particularly those aspects which have a great influence on my pastel painting: the earth and sky. In my work, I hope to convey to others the beauty I find and the peace I experience .
Beauty is vital to the soul and spirit. It can soothe, enrich, and bring enjoyment just by being observed — be it a horse running across a field, an arrangement of fruits in a market, or a sky filled with color and clouds. There is a need for it. If I can add to the beauty one sees in the world, or preserve it in some way, that’s good.
When I “paint” a scene with my pastels, it’s because there’s a quality about it that — corny as it may sound — seems to touch my soul. Something about the curve of a hillside, perhaps, or the color of rock against sky. Working on site (“en plein air”) is, to me, the most satisfying way to capture it. Being surrounded by the elements of the open air intensifies the feeling I have about whatever I’m trying to portray. If all goes well, I lose myself in the work, and part of my spirit is left in the painting. To me, that’s the difference between a “work of Art”, and the fine portrayal of a scene.
The Breast Cancer Series
My Breast Cancer Series is totally different from my landscapes. Beauty is not a motivating factor. The paintings are not exterior views emotionally digested and then externally presented. They are internal emotions interpreted figuratively so that they are externally visible.
They represent various psychological reactions or stages I experienced after having had a mastectomy in December of 1997. They evolved, often with great personal distress, over several years. It was difficult to find the gestures and the esthetic means to express those stages, but I felt compelled to do them.
I hope women who also have had mastectomies will see the paintings and recognize some of their own feelings and be comforted. I hope others — women, daughters, men — will see them and understand.