I am drawn to the organic shapes of botanicals and often use abstracted versions in my work. I enjoy the liberty of possibilities with all the variety of shapes and colors in the plant world. Once I identify a theme for a show, I am able to launch a series of work.
I work intuitively, painting on many pieces at the same time. I work on birch panels laid out on a tall work bench. Each new panel serves as a palette for mixing colors before being developed into a finished work. This allows for layers of paint color and texture to build up to be revealed later by sanding or carving back into the surface. My process flows between adding and subtracting layers of paint. I attribute my way of working and love of rich active surfaces to my background as a printmaker.
At the end of a productive studio day, I will look at the work and evaluate what each one requires to become a finished piece. I do this rather quickly and decisively with a pad of sticky notes, attaching the note to the painting as I go. This system allows me to come in the next morning and have a detailed list of what to do next without having to re-evaluate all the pieces. Many years of studio practice has taught me creating is a separate way of thinking from evaluating. I am more productive when I honor the natural tendencies of right and left brain skills.
The Pop-Up Garden is influenced from my 20+ years working with children in the program I developed at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design called Studio Kids. There is something magical when a flat painting (cardboard with the kids) is cut-out and stood up! I have helped the kids experience this magic for years and I really wanted to make a whole installation of cutout forms. So I did! The first Pop-Up installation I created was the 'Pop-Up City' for my solo show last Fall in Minneapolis at Gallery 360. I made 66 buildings and stood them up on slotted stands.
The slotted stands are an influence from my oodles of paper doll making as a girl. I like this simple method for standing up the painted wood shapes because it evokes the playful quality of the paper cutouts.
This Winter I couldn't wait to get started on making the 'Pop-Up Garden' for this show. I paint the individual flowers and plants on four foot sheets of plywood. Composing as many as possible on the sheet and painting the scalloped shapes for the slotted stands along any available edge. Knowing I will be cutting these shapes out with a jigsaw, I am not concerned with the overall composition of the full 4 foot sheet. Upon completing the painting of several sheets, it was unanimous to the people who saw them that they should not be cut-out and remain whole as large paintings. These are now the 'Bloomer Party' paintings, three in all were left un-cut. I was able to paint more for the 'Pop-Up Garden'. I am pleased with how the evolution of this work developed and continue to be amazed by the process of creating.