Friday, March 9, 2012


Watercolour, gouache & pastel on paper, 8 x 9", 2011

What are you working on in your studio right now?

For the past three years I've mostly been working on paper using watercolor, gouache, and ink. Recently I've also gone back to painting with oil on wood panels. The work on paper is small and intimate in scale. I like the freedom and immediacy of working on paper, somehow because it's not as precious as canvas I'm able to be more loose with it, same is true of watercolor and gouache. If something isn't working I can just toss it for the time being and get back to it later. I have lots of work in various stages of completion.

Can you describe your working routine?

Since I'm not able to go to my studio every day, due to family responsibilities and having to work for money (or look for work, which is usually the case) when I am in my studio, I'm very focused and work almost nonstop. My routine also involves drinking a lot of coffee, and listening to music or talk programs on NPR. (I like Car Talk, This American Life and Fresh Air especially) I seem to need another part of my brain to be focused on something else other than the work I am doing, maybe it frees my unconscious or something like that. When I first get to the studio in the morning I spend some time trying to straighten up and organize stuff – paint tubes, brushes, stacks of paper that are strewn everywhere – I'm a very messy painter. On the days I don't go to my studio I work at home at night or early in the morning, at our living room table. Same routine, lots of coffee and music/talk radio.

Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?

My studio is in an old, industrial building in East Williamsburg, Brookyln. There are a lot of artists studios on the floor, and a framing business owned by good friends of mine. I know most of the people who are walking around in the hallway so there's a nice friendly atmosphere. I like this in contrast to the privacy of the studio which I also love. The studio is about 500 sq. ft, long and narrow, with one big window with bars on it facing east, and overlooking sides of buildings and rooftops. Some, but not a lot of natural light, A heater in the winter that's a bit noisy. High ceilings and really grungy floors. Some studios look happy, I think mine does.

Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.

I approach a painting by making a line, a shape, an area of color, then another and another. A straightforward and intuitive process. Each mark is a response to what came before. At some point I am no longer calling all the shots, the painting has something to say, there's a dialogue, and I respond to what it is saying. Whether the painting is finished or not is sometimes unclear – other times it shouts “done.” Frequently I go back into a painting after a pause of weeks or months, often seeing possibilities I hadn't before. I can't repeat a painting. How it came to be is mysterious. I don't usually remember or know how I did a painting. I do know that every stroke or mark can exist only in the moment it was done. Five minutes later it would be a different mark or stroke and a different painting.

Watercolour, gouache & ink on paper, 8 x 9", 2011

What are you having the most trouble resolving?

In general in my life, I'm having the most trouble finding a job that is fairly tolerable and takes up the least amount of my time, with the maximum pay. Is that too much to ask? I would be on cloud nine if I could spend every day in my studio, or at least 5 days a week. On a more technical note, I'm having trouble making larger drawings and paintings. I've been working on a small scale for several years, and I do want to make the work bigger but it's been a difficult so far. Many years ago I did large paintings (6', 7') and at that time I had trouble making small work. I'd like to be able to easily go back and forth and that's been challenging.

Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters​​?

I love materials, all kinds of materials. I love wandering up and down aisles in hardware store, considering all the possibilites. I'm fascinated by glazes and varnishes, wax mediums, dry pigmants, all that stuff. I used to work in an art supply store, a long time ago, and it always made a strong impression on me when somebody came in and asked for something exoctic that I´d never used - "damar crystals" for example - even the name is fascinating. Over the years I´ve tried a lot of different materials and probably always will. One thing I´ve wanted to do for a long time is learn how to make paper. I watched a video on YouTube of a guy demonstrating to elementary scholl kids how to make paper and it doesnt look too hard. You need a blender and a screen, I´m going to try it. I am not a purist about materials.

Notebooks 2012

What does the future hold for this work?

What I hope for is abundant time, so I can keep doing the work I love doing. I hope the future holds a wider audience, more shows, and more sales.

Is there anything else you would like to add?


It's amazing how much inspiring work I've discovered on Facebook and various artists' blogs, I feel a connection and kinship with so much of this work, and this is not a feeling I necessarily get when I'm walking around in Chelsea. I've seen a lot of really deeply felt and beautiful work and I feel like there's a conversation going on, and a sense I have that I can be part of this conversation, that what I am doing in my work speaks to what some other artists are doing and vice versa. Of course I'd love to see this work in real life - I don't really like to spend a lot of time on the internet actually.

Thank you Valerie for your wonderful blog and for providing to me the opportunity to share some thoughts and show my work. You are doing a great service to lots of artists, and you're also doing some awesome paintings.

Watercolour, gouache & ink on paper, 8 x 9", 2011

1 comment:

  1. Nice work! Sometimes, random strokes are capable of creating masterpieces.
    garden sculptures