I identify as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), a psychological term used to describe individuals who process sensory data very intensely. My thoughts immediately attune to the body language and emotional attributes of those within my physical environment, akin to an antenna receiving signals. This empathic skill provides me with a repository of emotions which are then channeled into my work. I use my gifts to paint images with a wide range of mood, tone, and narrative. In addition, I am most attracted to work which is conceptually, as well as aesthetically, stimulating. Aesthetic harmony inspires me to pursue visual arts, but the opportunity to learn about others’ internal struggles and successes keeps me illustrating.
I am a “method painter,” completely enveloped by the narrative world of the painting. The exploratory process thrills me. I write stories and construct playlists of music inspired by the characters. Imaginary narratives affect my emotions as if they were extensions of my own daily life. This passion drives me to create images accessible to many viewers.
When given a topic, my mind’s eye envisions particular compositions and mood. Using these images as a springboard, I sketch many variants. During the developmental stage, I ask a variety of questions: Who is my demographic? What are novel visual solutions accessible to my audience? At this point, I begin compiling reference material. Since my style is heavily naturalistic, I often photograph models to achieve just the “right” appearance for my characters. Once I am at the comp stage, I draw with pencil to achieve pleasing line quality. Line work is scanned, becoming a base for painting in Corel Painter. This digital program eases the replication of “traditional” textures. (I also utilize Photoshop for its image manipulation and color editing software.) My background lies in fine traditional painting, but I predominantly work digitally. This approach allows me to retain the “feel” of traditional work, but provides a turnaround time better suited for commercial markets.
My process is equally informed by analytical and intuitive approaches. My passion for art history and critical theory influences conceptual development, but I let my senses lead me to color and form. From the composition to the distinct features of the faces I paint, each of my pieces is carefully planned and controlled. However, I do allow myself freedom to explore looseness of brush stroke to prevent the figures from becoming static. I enjoy dramatic use of lighting to evoke a strong aesthetic response; color palettes are carefully picked to support the concept. Although I tend to work digitally, watercolor, acrylic, ink, or graphite are implemented if they suit the piece.