“Stars are made of flaming gas, but constellations are made of stories.” -Rebecca Solnit
When I started painting in Portland, I would draw or collage a city map on the back endpaper of my sketchbooks for mostly practical reasons: I used it to find my way around town. Invariably this map would become embellished with notes and symbols as I located places of interest at the time. The map on my mobile phone has stars to show where my friends live: people, places and events in our lives become points of navigation, too.
At the time I’m writing this statement, people are enthusiastic about a game in which imaginary creatures appear over a camera image of the player’s surroundings. But it doesn’t take mobile technology to augment our experience of the physical world: memories and shared history give places unseen significance.
Like stars in the sky or pins on a map, artificial lights suggest shapes, and those shapes suggest stories, and those stories depend on what the teller sees and remembers and loves. Using different materiaIs to hand color prints can suggest different moods and narratives. I paint places that many people can recognize, but I’ll never be able to tell all of the stories people connect to those places. Instead, sometimes looking at streetlights and sometimes at stars, I’ve made up a few stories of my own.
An ongoing series of monotypes based on sketchbook drawings from recent travels in Oregon. Some drawings lend themselves to multiple interpretations. More coming soon.
When I started preparing for this show, I found myself wanting more than anything to find a way to bring the in-depth investigation and focus of the dye paintings to larger works that used the same variety of paper and media that I have used in my sketchbooks for years. Gouache, watercolor, ink, graphite, charcoal, and pastel, multiple colors and surfaces of paper, all create their own effects and describe different moods and aspects of the winter landscape in Portland and beyond.
Working with these materials to create finished images that still keep the immediacy of my sketchbook studies has sometimes been a challenge, but I always did want to see where the unmarked paths led.