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About the Artist
I create abstract paintings using alcohol inks (AI). Using this relatively new medium, inks are suspended in isopropyl alcohol and applied to a non-porous surface which allows them to glide on the substrate until the alcohol evaporates, leaving the ink behind. AIs can be returned to their fluid state by adding more ink and/or more clear alcohol. Depending on the porosity of the substrate, AI's can be effectively erased if desired. Inks are manipulated using a variety of tools including isopropyl alcohol, paintbrush, gravity, and/or a low-wattage blower. Ink can be removed using a watercolor brush pen and clear isopropyl alcohol. When making a painting with AI, there is no warmup or preparation of the inks because they are ready to go out of the bottle. So, when I begin an AI painting, I typically start with a short meditation to get into my creative zone. I start with 1-3 colors that bring me joy in that moment. The colors may be inspired by something in nature outside my studio window, my mood, or even the mood set by the weather outside. Sometimes I start with a vague intention, knowing that AIs have a mind of their own. I use AIs in combination with fine pen work to create organic forms and shapes, many of which have botanical elements. I work with AIs in a give-and-take fashion. I like to first follow the ink's lead, allowing naturally occurring shapes and lines to unfold as I work with a low-voltage blower and clear blending fluids. Once I am happy with the forms, composition, and color gradients, I add controlled lines and shading to enhance the ink's natural expression. I go back and forth between these steps while I'm painting, giving space for the inks to naturally react to one another and applying my own controls until the image(s) and overall composition coalesce. The painting Epiphany started with the intention of creating solid, heavy lines of ink in the middle of the large paper (30 x 40 inches). The lines of ink were dried and layered with metallic gold to the point there was a subtle texture. Although I was pleased with the intensity of the inks and the simple balance of the composition, it felt unfinished. The painting sat - for six months. I came back to it periodically in those six months, painting it in my mind's eye but never satisfied with my vision. Finally, I decided to erase a diagonal line across the top third as a way to start over. What emerged was a stain of the ink because the ink had sat for so long. I don't remember any decision-making process after this. I simply saw the abundance of botanical-inspired forms and began applying ink, hence the name of the painting. I painted the remaining forms and lines over the next several days, balancing free-form circles with precise lines and working within a grid of thirds. Fine details were added with Posca acrylic pens and felt-tip drawing pens. Whether I begin a painting with a specific intention or not, my heart races at the start of each new painting in anticipation of what will happen. For me, the joy of working with fluid mediums is their unpredictable nature. It is my hope that my artwork pulls viewers in and makes them curious about what they are seeing. When people stop and stare at a piece and then tell me what they see, I believe an important exchange is taking place between the artist and viewer. They are often asking my permission to see what is in their imagination. Similar to how I follow the lead of the ink when painting, I enjoy following the lead of the viewer, always supporting their unpredictable imagination.