Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your passion for art?
I’ve always been involved with art through both my painting practice and as a scenic painter in the film industry. I suppose the pivotal moment I decided to devote myself entirely to my art came after I had left the education program at the University of British Columbia where I was studying to become a high school art teacher. At a certain point I decided that what I really needed to do, was be a full time artist. To devote myself entirely to just that and see what I could accomplish as a painter. It was a difficult choice to make as the effort to shift careers from film to teaching was a lot of work. But that work also entailed going back to Emily Carr University to finish my degree which was a great experience during which my passion toward my own art was reignited.
Can you tell me about the process of making your work?
I search out a subject that I’m attracted to. Sometimes I stop the car, or my bike, and take a photo thinking it might have some possibilities as a painting. I often have a subject lingering in my mind that I think could work. Sometimes I’ll go back to a location to take more pictures at a different time of day to see a different kind of light on it.
Once I’ve chosen my subject I might play with it on my computer by flipping it around, or changing it to black and white so I can see the composition better. Often I’ll do a drawing of it to learn about what attracted me to the image in the first place. I project the photo onto my canvas to draw it out. I like to work on a coloured back ground so I prepare the canvas by putting a vibrant orange or pink wash over the canvas surface.
I work mostly in acrylics. I start by laying in my darkest and lightest values of colour right away so I can see the composition quickly. I find those initial shapes that start to define form can be some of my favorite parts of the painting. Because I work with very wet and washy paint and like to keep the paint “open” (wet) for as long as possible, I spend most of my time painting with the canvas on the floor so it doesn’t drip. I climb a step ladder frequently to get some distance from the painting when it’s wet on the floor.