Dream and reality have always interplayed within my work. Our family farm was in a part of the Nebraska Sandhills called Mirage Flats. At certain times of day, the light played on the fields and on the clouds casting illusions of blue mountains. My father worked on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and my childhood daydreams were blanketed with stories my father would tell at night of the happenings on the Lakota Sioux Reservation. It was a fantastical world where I was curious which stories were real, or mythological folklore. I was in awe of the smallest of changes in light, and nuances of story telling. In the beginning, when I first began to paint, I wanted to find a way to parallel mythological stories with reality. In working with oils, I found color, light, and form emphasized the mystery of the story by drawing viewers in to the texture, and field of canvas.
Weaving dream life with reality through image making is one thing; even more compelling for me is the making of a painting. The brush and the knife on the canvas, and the process of making a composition and essentially creating problems to be solved with form, and color compells me.
Influenced by scroll painting and abstract expressionists, I use line to express those horizon lines and textures of what I see in the natural world. I use color compositionally and begin by covering my canvas with palette knives loaded with paint and then scraping away areas of landscape. This movement of color is my under painting, the first covering, and the map. When the layers begin to dry, I cover areas with translucent glazes or heavier textures.
The building and the taking away of paint is similar to how a ceramicist works with clay in the beginning stages. My love for the viscosity of the oil and the allure of color and texture hasn’t prevented me from taking to plaster and ink with a dry point tool, or covering paper with titanium white and using graphite to scratch through to layers beneath. These are simply other surfaces and mediums. It’s been important to me not to become too comfortable with a certain method; but instead to exaggerate what I know of paint. My work is to engage and experiment with the manipulation of color and texture and to be close to it; so as I unfold the story within the paint, I involve myself in a total artwork.