FAQ: Inspiration, Composition and Materials

When you're an abstract painter, there's a curiosity about what you do, the subject matter, how you decide what to painting and your source of inspiration. Here are a few recent questions and my personal insights.

What inspires your subject matter? 
Color first. I love mixing colors and creating new color palettes. My paintings frequently are explorations of color and texture, line and space. Sources of inspiration for my color studies are photo images — aerial landscapes, urban structures, geographic earth patterns and nature. These settings are rich with contours and lines that help me select a framework for my paintings.

Do you have a composition in mind when you paint?
Sometimes I do — I may have seen a landscape or cityscape and the shapes and contours are appealing. At other times, I want to explore color and light and will start with a linear framework to which I add color. Still, I'm always mulling over concepts and ideas and that I want to portray abstractly. A good example of this is the
Recollections Series — I started with a few curious paper fragments and that evolved into an interesting series about the memories in our lives.

Can you describe the materials you use and your creative process?
I use acrylic products — paints, inks and mediums. I also use graphite pencils, color pencils, soft pastels and acrylic markers to create areas of structure and visual interest. I paint on canvas and very heavy (300 lb./640 gsm) watercolor paper. I always start with a specific color palette that I use in preliminary studies before moving to canvas (or paper). After prepping the canvas, my first strokes are usually acrylic washes then mark making and back to painting — but that can vary! Final steps involve glazes to add dimension and depth. I do varnish my paintings to protect them against dirt, general handling and touching, and UV damage. The process really is dependent on the boldness or subtlety I want to capture at the time. That's what makes each painting so interesting!