I am a native Oregon artist who after a 34 year career with the USDA Forest Service, graduated in 2009 to pursue my passion for art. My vivid pastel and mixed media paintings demonstrate my passion for color and love of wild open landscapes. I live on a small ranch in the high Oregon desert, in the midst of my favorite subject matter.
I earned a Bachelor of Science in Geography at Portland State University. I honed my art skills over the years in many classes and workshops. I’ve studied under a number of artists including Richard McKinley, Susan Olgivie, Clint Swink, Ed Thibodeau, and Susan Kuznitsky.
While I paint primarily in soft pastel, I also work with wax pastel, watercolor and acrylic on paper and canvas, and printmaking. I recently ventured into a collaboration creating gourd and pine needle vessels with basket maker Kim Black, and I also work with hand-built, wood fired pottery in the Anasazi tradition.
My paintings have been shown in solo and group exhibitions and in several galleries in Oregon and British Columbia, and I annually participates in several art festivals throughout Oregon. My paintings are in private collections in the US and Canada.
“I love wild places, and am particularly drawn to stark desert landscapes with their intense underlying color, quieter spirit, exposed “bones”, and the whispers of cultures that have existed there. I’ve had the opportunity to travel throughout the world for work and play, but continue to find the most inspiration for my art in western landscapes, particularly the high Oregon desert. Spring through fall I can be found armed with art supplies and my tiny camp trailer in the heart of it all.
My paintings begin in the field. I start in a small sketchbook, writing notes about environmental conditions, and why I am called to this place, followed a series of thumbnail sketches, capturing composition and values. Finally I create a small painting, done rather quickly, sometimes ending up with a finished piece, but often a thought begging for further exploration back at camp or in the studio.
Back in the studio, I work most frequently on sanded surfaces. I start with a loose, drippy under-painting, using oil, watercolor, or pastels mixed with mineral spirits. The under-painting takes on a life all its own, and I honor the direction the painting wishes to go, along with my field notes to complete the composition. My goal is to create a finished painting using only as many marks as required to capture the essence of a scene. “Pastel mark with intention” is my motto and my goal, and is posted on my easel.”
Pastels are not chalk, despite their resemblance. Pastels are pure pigment, created from natural earth and stone, and ground into powdered form. The difference between pastel, oil, watercolor and other paints are the binders. Pastel pigment is mixed with methyl cellulose, formed into a paste, rolled into sticks, and allowed to dry, then applied directly to a textured surface that holds the pastel in place.
Pastel is one of the oldest media, and its predecessors can be traced back at least 15,000 years, when early artists used pure pigment extracted from the earth to adorn the caves of Lascaux, France, and Altamira, Spain.