Can I tell you a story? This story is important to me because it illustrates my passion for creating and teaching art and and how the artistic process can awaken us. I designed several drawing sessions to fit into a rehabilitative program for male prisoners in a New Mexico Correctional Facility. The goal of the program was to teach anger management and cultivating mindfulness. My role was to present a simple method of becoming present to themselves through drawing. After teaching, I received thank you cards from my students, one of whom wrote:
“Thank you. The time you were here teaching us how to see and draw was the most freedom I’ve felt in my whole life.”
I was teaching them that we default to our learned preconceptions instead of being open minded and getting a fresh take on our experiences and perceptions. Our ability to "know" about something can often interfere with our ability to "see" something. For example, we typically don’t notice the nuances of the quality of light or the colors of shadows, the shapes, patterns, lost and found edges of objects or landscapes. Art is about learning to see beyond the obvious. A shift in perception causes the mundane and familiar to suddenly transform into a discovery of something dazzlingly new.
When I paint, I search for compelling qualities in a scene that will make a strong visual statement that evoke an emotional response in me. I look for rhythm, shape, effects of light, patterns, textures and relationships—any of which can be the basis for a strong design and composition. I love contrast and luscious relationships of color.
Learning to see and to perceive the wealth of visual information in reality is key. Responding intuitively to what I see and expressing my vision in a language composed of design, line, shape, color and value is my passion. Art is about learning how to see and it frees the soul.