I create figurative paintings whose subjects are based on real people I have observed. I believe that the most vivid, meaningful and interesting interactions of figures, space and light occur out in the world and I seek those moments by going where I go and gathering images. In addition to sketching live at the scene, the current state and accessibility of photograph technology allows me to gather a vast collection of reference material to aid my memory of any given space. I utilize classical and digital techniques to arrive at a final composition which serves as my guide in creating a painting. Through my figurative paintings I hope to communicate the specific and unique emotions of those people I observe.
Figurative painting can create a unique intimacy between the viewer and the depicted. I am interested in specific and precise expression, but not of a strictly photorealistic sort. My guiding criterion for choosing which people and scenes to paint is how well they express the thought I wanted to express through the painting. Many times the thought is a reflection on the emotions I read in the people around me in specific spaces. Another criterion is how well the scene allows me to explore space, light and figures to create a complex scene full of lively figures. Ultimately only the painting shows that thing about the scene that grabbed my attention.
My painting process involves repetitious and preparative draftsmanship juxtaposed with spontaneous and succinct decisions and expression. My painting choices are informed by a variety of painting movements. This way of working speaks to my understanding of memory. It can be both through repetitive exposure and spontaneous epiphany that memories come to us, and in all cases that memory is its own new altered creature that is removed from any reality that exists beyond consciousness. Without the act of painting and engaging visually with the people I see in my life, I may have forgotten the experiences entirely. In giving these experiences visual form, I’ve endowed the moments and people with a type of significance. In an age where countless images are available at a single touch, committing any particular image to memory more daunting but ultimately more exciting than ever.
I often look to master painters who have contended with many figures in dynamic compositions. Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Velazquez, Edouard Manet, Adolf Menzel, Walter Sickert, and Edward Hopper have always been greatly influential in my work. Recently I have been looking to contemporary compositions by Eric Fischl, Odd Nerdrum, and Kerry James Marshall.