Artist's Statement

Sensual & intriguing paintings & decorative patterns by San Francisco area artist.




My art begins with my love of the physical world, especially the human figure, plants, and everyday objects.  It celebrates the sensual aspects of both subject and media.  And it has a frankly decorative intent, using bold color, line, texture, and pattern to animate strong compositions. 

Three kinds of visual subjects have interested me most: the wonderfully plastic and expressive human figure, the palpable forms of household objects transformed into still life, and the dynamic interplay of patterns.  Although always mindful of the abstract underpinnings of art, I love painting still lifes because real objects provide a foil for unexpected twists of dimension, design, and allusion.

See this still life and similar paintings in STILL LIFES...
Radiator and Shoe



My figurative painting and drawing always begins with real objects and live models.  I try to express not something about myself, but something I see in my subject.  My inspiration comes from masters of sensuality like Gauguin, Klimt, Matisse, Degas, and Van Gogh, as well as decorative arts like quiltmaking and stained glass. (See more about my influences, philosophy, and techniques.)

In addition to my two-dimensional art work, I also sculpt in stone, creating graceful figure abstractions, and pursue photography that emphasizes abstraction, pattern, and design.

See this image in the ARTIST'S COLLECTION, and similar abstract figures in ABSTRACT AND DECORATIVE FIGURES and PLAYFUL FIGURES...
The Pink Philodendron



Whether attracted by color, form, movement, or expression, I like to use art media that are swift and sensual, and work quickly to capture the subject.  This spontaneous drawing may complete the artwork, or I may work the subject into a complex visual composition, such as a decorative figure collage, often playful, energized with collage and decorative patterns.

Objects are temporary configurations of energy and matter into recognizable forms.  Both "solid" form, and "empty" space are full of energy.  I like to represent both form and energy -- a moment of visual balance between figure and ground, stability and motion, excitement and composure.  The result, I hope, is spiritual harmony as well as visual pleasure.

See this figure in the ARTIST'S COLLECTION, and similar figure collages in REALISTIC AND EXPRESSIONISTIC FIGURES...
Palpitations



I have been doing photography since I was twenty.  My artistic interests are, as usual, a direct gaze, strong compositions, and sensuality obtained through color, pattern, and texture.  I rarely "set up" photographs; instead I use the existing physical environment for my subject matter, searching out the unintentional "art" in the nooks and crannies of the city.  My earlier urban photographs were simple color abstractions, while my later ones rely more on textures and ambiguous spaces.  Of course, my photography and my painting continuously inform each other.
See this photograph among the PHOTOGRAPHY SAMPLES, and similar photographs in the PHOTOGRAPHY GALLERY...
The Blue Wall



Although I have lived for decades in the San Francisco Bay area, my art and photography reflect my travels of the past three decades in both subject and form.  With backpack and camera, I have explored Alaska, Africa, East Asia, and Mexico, and for a time I lived in rural Japan, studying calligraphy and textiles.  Japanese brushwork, textiles, and ukiyo-e prints, brilliant Mexican color, Pacific Northwest Indian design, African abstraction, Hindu voluptuousness, and patterns from around the world have all left their imprints on my painting compositions, media experiments, and photography.
See this photograph among the PHOTOGRAPHY SAMPLES, and similar photographs in the PHOTOGRAPHY GALLERY...
Korean Temple Beam



Although I have camped and taken pictures all over the good ol' USA, photographing ghost towns and icebergs and other often uncomfortable environments, I am most drawn to warm, exotic travel destinations full of color and sensuality.  From my love of the tropics spring images and remembrances of beaches, swimmers, shells, tropical fish, and luxuriant plants.  Meanwhile, my observation of the role of art in other cultures has led me to respect the "small" but universal job of art, that is, simply to enrich daily life through pleasure.
See this figure in the ARTIST'S COLLECTION, and similar art in PLAYFUL FIGURES and DECORATIVE FIGURES...
Calypso



In the early 1990s I sought a more intriguing use of depth in my flat art.  So I began to photograph naturally occurring overlaid images, such as window reflections, shadows, and objects behind fences.  Soon I decided to create composite images myself. Because this was before digital photography became widespread, I created in-camera multiple exposures using color slide film.  I welcomed the serendipity of these photographs.  Many of these images include window display mannequins, and expand on my painting theme of figures with patterns.
See this photograph in the MIXED EMULSIONS exhibit...
Eleusis



Working with multiple exposures in my photography, as well as the study of Japanese textiles, led me to explore overlaying and mixing patterns in my art.  This led me to expand the use of collage from my figurative art to create non-objective works based on pattern, symmetry, and depth, or movement through the picture plane.  The challenge is the sensual integration of many disparate elements.

This decorative yet philosophical non-objective art aims to find order and harmony amidst complexity, to reveal the "divine irregularity" of the universe.  Deep viewing of these works becomes a spatial and spiritual meditation.

See this abstract collage and similar art in PATTERN ABSTRACTS...
Indian Altar



Unlike many artists trained in the latter half of the 20th century, I believe that technical skills such as draftsmanship are important, and have worked hard to expand my abilities.  In addition to decades of figure drawing, I studied portrait drawing for many years, and I studied calligraphy in Japan to add a new and different facet to my work.  I have always worked seriously--and simultaneously--with many media, subjects, and styles.  My creative process is not specialized and linear, aimed at producing a parade of look-alike work, but is more like a tentacled spiral, inhaling and exhaling multiple inputs from many directions.
See this portrait and similar fine art in PORTRAITS...
El Padre



An artist's life is one of conscious exploration and integration.  The "work" of art is to express in physical form the variety and growth of an ever-expanding individual and/or collective human consciousness.  For the artist, the evolution of style reflects the evolution of the psyche; it is a dynamic process that lasts a lifetime.  Rather than searching for or being confined to a single "style," I believe that an artist's work should be as multifaceted as its creator.  My varied interests and experimentalism disconcerts many art marketers and gallery owners, but is a delight for those who know my work, who see a consistent worldview and personality within the visual variety.
See this picture in the ARTIST'S COLLECTION, and related visual art in the OTHER FIGURES exhibit...
Crown Princess



Much contemporary art reflects alienation and distress, but I do not enjoy ugliness regardless of its philosophical garb.  Art need not mirror and multiply the unpleasantnesses of life, but can instead enrich life by providing pleasure, harmony, and insight. The creative contribution of my art is not to criticize, but to synthesize; not to whine, but to heal; not to shock, but to provide enduring joy in everyday life at home or at work.  Amidst the ubiquitous dis-integration of the modern world, I hope my art will provide a refuge of wholeness and balance, an intriguing and nourishing "feast for the eyes."  Enjoy!
See similar pattern paintings in PATTERN ABSTRACTS...
Autumn Breeze




Updated 2016
Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco Bay Area, East Bay, northern California