This was the perfect June Day to be painting in Wickford Harbor. But, I can be found more often in my Narragansett studio.
Inspiration for many of my paintings comes from the shore line in southern Rhode Island. My studio is there, and I spent most of the pandemic in Narragansett, painting 3-4 days a week, interrupted by the three days I see clients. Music, especially dance music, gets me out of my head and into the painting. Standing at my easel I leave behind all the sadness I take in as a psychologist specializing in trauma. Some people work their pain into their art. I need the opposite. Painting brings me back to beauty and joy.
My paintings start with multiple sketches to establish the composition and values. Although I do some still life and plein air painting, lately my subjects are a composite of many reference photos to obtain the feel that I want in a painting. This is especially true in my seagull paintings. They won’t pose for me.
There are so many ways I’d like to grow as an artist. Right now I’m trying to master painting with palette knives. I love the texture and unpredictable colors that I get from them. It helps me loosen up while staying representational.
I’m also doing more figurative work, telling a story in the look of an eye or a gesture. In April 2020 I painted a portrait of my son, “Recovered,” after he spent 5 weeks alone in his NY apartment quarantined with an apparent case of Covid-19. I worked out my fear of his illness and relief at his recovery in that painting, and captured some of his same feelings.
I paint because I have to. It is my passion, and it’s what centers me. I love the way it lets me get lost in it, losing track of time. During the pandemic I was able to give my art more concentrated attention. Where before I was a psychologist first, painting on the weekends. Now my priorities have flipped and I’m adjusting my work schedule around painting. Painting has changed how I look at the world, and how I am in the world. And there’s no going back.
I began painting watercolors in the mid 1990’s, studying at the Danforth Museum School. Rosetta Nasisi was a great teacher who inspired me to expand my vision. I worked with her for many years. For the last 7 years my medium is oils, and Lorena Pugh my teacher and inspiration.