I am fascinated by faces and the fact that from the moment of birth we are hardwired to search for and focus on faces. This fascination compels me to paint portraits. My portraits usually capture only the face. I like to get up close and paint the face large, much larger than life. I want to feel like I know the person I am painting and am connecting with them on a personal level.
I paint both in oil and encaustic in a loose, expressionistic style. For many years I painted portraits of newborns. The expressions on their faces and the twisting and turning of their bodies, graphically expressed to me the range of emotions we all experience throughout life. This series of paintings was inspired by a photograph taken of my son when he was a few hours old. His face clearly showed all the distress and discomfort he had been through during birth.
While painting newborns, I searched for a better way to capture the delicacy of newborn skin than I was able to achieve in oil paint. I began to experiment with encaustic, hot wax, to attain the luminosity I wanted. The skin I paint is translucent, the eyes look moist. Encaustic has a mind of its own. In the encaustic fusing process, I like to fully melt the top layer of wax to make it smooth and increase its translucency. This melting can move the colors in ways I haven’t anticipated. I am stimulated by the challenge this medium presents and welcome the element of surprise it introduces.
Currently the subject of my portraits is people of color. The racial divide so evident in our country today has made me want to explore this topic. I find when something troubles me that I want to paint it. To make it big and right in my face. This immersion allows me to address the issue and readjust my thinking. It is my hope that my work will prompt viewers to also find new ways of looking at others and the world around them.