The central theme of my paintings is about finding a personal sense order in a confusing, chaotic, and meaningless world.
The lead players of these paintings, naively, and in the moral clarity of youth, yearn for a state of perfection. In seeking for it, they come to the boundaries of mortality. Such an ideal state is not of this world, though it can be glimpsed by the mind, as if across a chasm.
The paintings are made with oil paint, and the drawings are done in charcoal.
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#1 The Return
I think we all have a central conflict: security versus adventure.
#2 The Garden
In this painting the protagonist encounters the afterlife, made of memories and unfulfilled desires. Though she can see it, she is physically blocked from entering that other world.
#3 The Well
This painting took 3 months to finish. I was working on it when my son was being born, and I see a lot of the emotions I was feeling at that time in the painting - fear, uncertainty, discovery, and excitement.
#4 The Wedding Party
The meaning here is that in the midst of great uncertainty, we get on with our lives, get married, and have children. Tragedy can strike at anytime, though it's better not to think about it. The fact is that simply getting on with life is a very courageous thing to do.
I had done a quick pencil sketch of this scene during a trip to England. The sketch captured the emotion and romance I felt for the countyside there. I know why it's the birthplace of so many fairytales.
#6 The Source
Water is rich with meaning - as the source of life, underwater as a symbol of the unconscious, things emerging from water start so many myths. But water can also be sewage, and carry disease. Some of that duality is in this painting.
#7 The Tree
I often feel cut off from the rest of the world.
From my car I saw a girl waiting at a bus stop. That was all it took to be inspired to make this drawing. I wish it was always so easy.
#9 Winter Cabin
This girl is at home in this overgrown, dilapidated place in the night time. Who is she? Where is she from? What is her relationship with the viewer? These were the questions that interested me.
This painting is about making choices. They can have profound, life-long consequences, yet we have very little information with which to make a decision. It's usually a leap of faith.
This painting came about in a backwards sort of way - I had a photo of an old broken brick wall from a roman garden. I liked that wall so much that the rest of the painting grew up around it.
Nature is in a transition, versus the solidity and imposing permanence of the locomotive. It's a paradoxical image because nature - in it's continually adapting way - will outlast any creation of man.
I think the idea of feeding flies opened up a lot of story possibilities. Why is she doing it? Is it a ritual? Is she part of an insect-worshipping religious community? Is it a punishment? A rite of passage?
These images are often pieces removed from a larger story, which takes shape in my head as I'm painting it. In this case the image is from an Alice Munroe short story, not that the viewer needs to know what it was about, my hope is that the image will provoke new narratives in the mind of the viewer.
This place can only exist in the imagination, it's an arcadian landscape in a perpetual foggy twilight.
I like the idea of suggesting a story with as few cues as possible. There is nothing more engaging for the imagination than a mystery.
I grew up in the small seaside town of Santa Cruz, California. Even though my paintings are fantasies or dreams, for me they take place in the literal location of Santa Cruz. It's a bit like dreaming of the house you grew up in.
This image is also about facing uncertainty, with its risks and rewards.
#19 The Crown
I learned long after painting this that the girl with a crown of candles is actually a Swedish wedding ritual. I knew I had tapped into something.
This mass migration, especially now, has a literal meaning, though my interest was a more metaphorical one - crossing into a new age of life, from the sheltered fantasy of childhood into the prosaic reality of adulthood.
#21 Drain Pipe
This image is particularly autobiographical, it represents my teenage self - feeling isolated, yet so much was going on under the surface, unexpressed.
I find the image of the greenhouse as a metaphor particularly poignant - it's a fragile thing, yet it allows life to thrive in an alien environment. The tropical plants inside are like astronauts on mars.
This painting was inspired by the book "Never Let Me Go". It's not a literal illustration of a scene, more a general image of the emotion the book imparted to me.
#24 The Tower
I have a friend who is struggling with cancer. This is not a portrait, but it depicts what I see in her - courage, strength, and doubt.
I was inspired by the book "The Haunting Of Hill House", which is about an emotionally stunted woman who develops an unhealthy attachment to an old house. She entered the dark recesses that others feared to go, and the place took her in. I'm fascinated by the idea of entering dark places, like tunnels. Isn't the fear that it's a portal to another world, from which there is no return?
The shrouded figure in mythology is a recently departed soul. I liked to imagine her in a serene grove of plants - sort of like the waiting room for the afterworld.