IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation- Kenny Harris

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IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation
Darlene Campbell, Kenny Harris, F. Scott Hess, Ira Korman, Judy Nimtz, Sarah Perry, Robert Schultz & Peter Zokosky

July 7 – August 27, 2016
Opening Reception: July 7, 2016: 6 – 8 pm

Method: Degrees of Separation, the second of three IDENTITY exhibitions, highlights the art process with a special appreciation of historical methods within a voice of haptic ways of seeing. The featured artists come from various points of view—conceptually, pictorially, and aesthetically—yet collectively they share a deep dedication to creating artwork by way of a traditional method. In curator Eleana Del Rio’s words “Tradition by way of ‘method’ – stated loosely – is the exhibition’s topic.”

Artist interview #45: Kenny Harris- Part 2

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1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
Ideal? An overcast day in an ancient interior with tall windows and interesting shapes. In Europe. With a cafe downstairs. And etherial music drifting through the plaster passages. That would be ideal.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
Two strong coffees, they help me get motivated. Ever since living in Italy I associate coffee with art. I’m afraid I’m stuck with it. Sometimes I’ll listen to NPR but that gets pretty depressing these days. Podcasts are preferable. Electronic music can keep me floating along too.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I work in oils, alternating between panel and canvas depending on my current investigations. I usually have several paintings going at once, but at some point I’ll focus in to finish individual works as the last push often takes a lot of effort.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
Well, travel is very important, so my wife Judy and I do that a lot—gathering inspiration. I like to play beach volleyball in Venice and Santa Monica, and jump in the ocean when I can!

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
My method is to work up compositions from studies and sketches based on observation and photography. The tradition of doing oil sketches is something I have always loved, and I’m enthralled when I look at small Tiepolo or Rubens oil sketches—visual thinking playing out in front of your eyes. So, I use this in my work to figure out my path forward.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY Method- Degrees of Separation, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?
The small still lives are part of an ongoing series of still lives playing with local color to set off the objects, bringing a graphic formality to picture plane. I love the reflective quality of spaces, and I’m bringing that into these objects, playing up the ambiguity between the object and background. The large cityscape is a slight departure for me in two ways: One, I’m embracing the panoramic qualities of the iPhone—not hiding the fascinating distortion that is a telltale artifact of the ‘Panorama’ setting. Two, I’ve begun playing with wiping and squeegeeing paint to emulate atmospheric conditions, like rain. I am enjoying this investigation very much.

IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation- Peter Zokosky

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IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation
Darlene Campbell, Kenny Harris, F. Scott Hess, Ira Korman, Judy Nimtz, Sarah Perry, Robert Schultz & Peter Zokosky

July 7 – August 27, 2016
Opening Reception: July 7, 2016: 6 – 8 pm

Method: Degrees of Separation, the second of three IDENTITY exhibitions, highlights the art process with a special appreciation of historical methods within a voice of haptic ways of seeing. The featured artists come from various points of view—conceptually, pictorially, and aesthetically—yet collectively they share a deep dedication to creating artwork by way of a traditional method. In curator Eleana Del Rio’s words “Tradition by way of ‘method’ – stated loosely – is the exhibition’s topic.”

Artist interview #43: Peter Zokosky

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1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
I’ve got my studio in my house, upstairs. I go there everyday, even if I don’t get to paint. I want to see what I’ve done, it’s frequently a surprise to see how it measures up the next morning. I don’t listen to music when I work.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
I get in there whenever I have a chance. It’s a magnificent place to be, I start everyday in there.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I work in oils and I always have several in progress. It’s not unusual to work on just one in a day, but there are lots of them waiting in the wings. They get put aside when I don’t know how to finish them, some get put aside for years.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
I teach and run an MFA program. It’s great to have art on the mind so much. It’s rewarding to work with talented serious artists and try to help them on their journey.

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
If I understand the question, the goal is always to end up with a painting that feels complete, I don’t mean finished, when it’s complete it has the elements of real life in it. Lots of those elements are contradictory. Elements like sensuality, uncertainty, order and chaos, frivolity and severity, sublime and absurd. I don’t refer to a check list, but I do feel that the experience of life is complex and that complexity ought to show up in the work. Otherwise it feels incomplete.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY Method- Degrees of Separation, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?
I would hope that a new viewer would allow for uncertainty as a valid reaction to the work. I do not try to make tidy paintings, that can be summed up readily. I want the paintings to reveal themselves slowly, over the course of years. I intend for them to remain engaging. I would not want a new viewer to think I had failed because the paintings are open-ended. For me it’s a sign of respect toward the viewer to offer up something complex.

Direct Observation: Two Approaches, Kathy Gore Fuss & Amy Huddleston

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May 7 – June 30, 2016
Reception for the artists: May 7, 2 – 4pm

Both Kathy Gore Fuss and Amy Huddleston work from direct observation, but they use this traditional tool very differently. One would never confuse their two bodies of work.

In a recent artist statement, Amy Huddleston write: “Two years ago I decided to work entirely from observation, with a muted and limited palette.  I learned a great deal through this work; which was based on measuring in order to help me better understand spatial relationships. I felt a strong desire to see what this could bring to my work.”

Huddleston’s passion is for observation detached from narrative. Because she knows how to paint well indeed, her straightforward approach will have its rewards, among them, allowing psychological expression to be a by-product, rather than the intention of her efforts. This compelling subjective expression, while it arrives without invitation, does become a significant aspect of her work. – Norman Lundin

Artist Interview #42: Amy Huddleston, Part 2

Amy participated in our interview series as part of a previous exhibition (artist interview #12).

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1. In your drawings and paintings, what does it mean for you to succeed?
I must like it.

2. In your recent artist’s statement, you wrote that you are working on small works that help you further refine the “how” of your process. What have you discerned about your process through working on these?
That it changes, attempts at approaching work the exact same way; same support, paint etc., is too rigid for me, at least currently, I see glimpses of future definitiveness, but I tend toward mirages.

3. How do you understand form in relation to expressing your observational experience?
By asking myself, when looking at something, what exists in this particular visual field, and how can I use it to make a visual experience that draws people toward it, for whatever reason. If I can figure out what draws me to a form I can potentially use that information to construct, or rather, reconstruct this information; not in order to get the same viewpoint but to gain another.

4. What can you tell us about the expressive results (the expression) of your observational experience?
That it is determined along the way, as the work moves forward. It is not a preconceived notion. Largely, it is determined by eliminating things I do not like rather than adding things that I do.

5. What is your ideal working environment?
You can never have too much space, light, or music.

Kathy Gore Fuss & Amy Huddleston, Direct Observation: Two Approaches

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May 7 – June 30, 2016
Reception for the artists: May 7, 2 – 4pm

 

Both Kathy Gore Fuss and Amy Huddleston work from direct observation, but they use this traditional tool very differently. One would never confuse their two bodies of work.

 

Four years ago Kathy Gore Fuss began spending much of her painting time out in the forests around her Olympia home rather than in the studio. She was curious how working from direct observation would change her painting. It has sharpened her eye and guided her hand as well as deepened and expanded her narrative vision of the forest. This is perhaps especially true in the work on view as Gore Fuss has, for the past year, filled the unique role of artist in residence at the Port of Olympia, and as such she has had access to the loading facilities and crews of Chinese and Japanese ships that dominate the shipping of lumber at West Coast ports. Her narrative begins in the forest and follows through to the loading dock. While the narrative content, explicit and implied, is there, her intent is not to document but rather to use the “Industrial Forest” as a vehicle for her ideas about painting. Gore Fuss understands that her narrative serves the painting, not the other way around. These paintings are “stand-alone works” and compelling as the story is, do not require the narrative to find meaning as works of art.
– Norman Lundin

 

Interview #41: Kathy Gore Fuss
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1. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?
My earlier years as an artist were a juggling act between studio time and part-time employment. In the last six years, I have quit all of my fake jobs and work solely on my art.

 

2. When did you consider yourself an artist?
It was always my dream to be an artist. I was enormously proud of all of the artwork I produced in Elementary School. Walking home from school I was frequently hassled by some bullies who thought it great fun to rip my artwork out of my hands, toss them in puddles and jump up and down on them while laughing. Being a problem solver at an early age, I figured out that I could fold up my paintings, tuck them in my underwear and transport them home safely, much to my mother’s surprise. My first regular exhibitions were, of course, on the refrigerator.

 

3. What are your influences?
The Impressionists have had a huge hold on my fascination and passion with nature; Pierre Bonnard, Claude Monet, Pierre Cezanne, and Camille Pissarro. I have also looked to the women in our past who dedicated themselves to their craft; Lois Dodd, Alice Neel & Emily Carr. Some of my current heroes are right here in Seattle, Helen O’Toole and Ann Gale.

 

4. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?
In 2010 I designed and became general contractor for the construction of my first official studio. The studio is 24 X 32 feet with a 12 foot covered back porch which I use for messy, dust generating projects. There are three skylights that give me good north light along with several windows that offer me views of my gardens and back yard. The property is a double lot; the house is situated on one parcel and the studio is on the other. I live in Olympia, Washington which is an affordable, arts oriented family supportive community 65 miles south of Seattle. This is the first studio I have had that is under my own supervision and it’s a complete delight to know I will work here the rest of my painting life.

 

5. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?
I was a studio artist for most of my career, working exclusively in my studio space. Ironically, just after I completed the construction of my new studio (2011), I began aggressively painting outdoors (Plein Air). Initially I thought I was intentionally avoiding my new studio space, but the transition in my painting practice shifted outdoors to be in nature. I spend extended amounts of time on site and then return to the studio to the solitude. I do listen to music in my studio. It includes opera, jazz, show tunes, world music and old classics.

 

6. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I have worked in a wide variety of materials over the course of my career, but I have returned to my first love: drawing and painting. Oil paint is my medium for painting and graphite, charcoal and pencil are what I rely on for drawings.

 

7. How is your process different in the studio compared to when you are out in the landscape?
My painting practice starts with direct observation outdoors. When I select a site, I will often work there for weeks or months while developing a relationship with it. Over the course of a year I will move around to different sites, requiring me to address the questions I have about where we live. Wealth and beauty; how do they affect my relationship to nature? My studio work involves analyzing the technical challenges I started wrestling with outdoors. The state of flux, the sense of urgency I work from outdoors gets to take a back seat to a more analytical approach in the solitude of my studio space.

 

8. In your drawings & paintings, what does it mean for your work to succeed?
I have a vision in my head of what my painting should be. There have been times with a particular painting where it has seduced me into thinking I have solved the dilemmas, answered my questions and I have become the painter I have always hoped I would be. That’s what my artwork and I would describe as “succeeding”. Then the glow wears off; I am humbled and humiliated by my folly and I start another painting or drawing.

 

9. How do you understand form in relation to expression? Or, what part does expression play in your work?
My process relies heavily on the tension between direct observation and abstraction. My forms are naturalistic; some more organic, others more heavily rooted in geometry. I am most pleased with my painting when my process of abstraction utilizes intentional and reductive interpretations of an objective image. My hope is that my painting will offer enough of the essence of the site with a strong chord of my interpreting how I see it.

 

10. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?
I consider my dog as one of my most unique tools when I am working on a site outdoors. He is hard wired to his senses in a way that I aspire to be, but am not. I think he considers himself at work as much as I am when we are in the field. His awareness is acute and he sees, hears and smells things that I might be too self-absorbed to notice. He is my connection to nature.

 

11. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?
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Bicycling, hiking, gardening and listening to old jazz records. I start most of my days with one long walk with my dog at a local park. I also offer a one week painting workshop once a year at my studio.

 

IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact: Laurie Hogin

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As of January 2016, KDR has joined its affiliate PROGRAPHICA Gallery in Seattle, WA, where Eleana Del Rio and Norman Lundin will curate exhibitions jointly as well as independently within its new enitity: Prographica / KDR.

Koplin Del Rio (formerly of Culver City, CA) is pleased to present its debut exhibition in Seattle: IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact features gallery artists: Sandow Birk, Melissa Cooke, Einar & Jamex de la Torre, Laurie Hogin, Zhi Lin, Kerry James Marshall and Robert Pruitt, curated by Eleana Del Rio.

IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact is the first of a series of three exhibitions, each featuring a select group of long-time Koplin Del Rio (KDR) gallery artists. As KDR transitions its footprint to the Pacific Northwest, the exhibitions will unveil the gallery’s distinct identity and unique visual program through the artists it represents. These artists produce work that taps into the pulse of our current point in history in order to examine identity on multiple levels—self, community and nation.

Artist interview #37: Laurie Hogin

1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.

I love large, open, light-filled spaces, of the kind historically used for every kind of material production or activity, including studio art—lofts, barns, garrets. This is not hip or politically correct, because it can be seen as romantic or sentimental, but it is the truth. I love the poetics of space. My studio is a pole-barn type structure attached to the home I share with my husband, son and our two pets, Rocky, an Australian Cattle Dog and Fiona, a dove-gray Domestic Long Hair cat. It is located in a rural area of unincorporated Champaign County, in Central Illinois. It is surrounded by prairie weeds, industrial corn and soy fields, and some woods along the Sangamon River. My work is solitary, and my space is conducive to productive solitude. I love the aesthetics of how my labor fits into it—my easel, my drafting table, my stacks of books and my reading couch, my desk and computer for writing, my shelves with collections of models, rocks and minerals, feathers, bones, toys, clippings from ads and other scraps of information—sketches, notes, downloaded images. I don’t really like music, although I understand that it can be an expression of genius, and I am interested in it intellectually. I grew up with a parent who was a stunningly talented pianist, so I have an oddly developed ear for someone who is otherwise sort of indifferent. When I do crave music, it is usually David Bowie, from his most popular songs to his more experimental, atmospheric work. I also have a taste for what many of my friends and colleagues would consider unsophisticated pop songs, but I don’t care—I listen in the car! I do like to sing. Light—the more, the broader the spectrum, the better for making art and for writing; for reading, I like a pool of warm light in the gloom—a clip lamp on the back of my couch.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?

I am motivated to be here by all that I keep and do here, which is pretty much whenever I am not needed elsewhere, or engaged with students, colleagues, friends or family. I am very social and outgoing, but have a great need and desire for solitude.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Painting is, for me, the most plastic, the most comprehensive, and the most resonant way to make art—to bring to conscious perception things that would not otherwise exist. After that, it is writing, for the same reasons. After that, drawing. I work on many years’ worth of projects at a time.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?

My husband, son and I have great conversations! We love to read and consume media, including movies, video games and many popular cable television shows, and discuss politics, culture, media, art and history as well as personal stuff. I love mountain biking, and there is a 600-acre park, filled with steep little moraines, woods and prairie just three miles down the county road that runs past our house. Granted, it’s not the Sierra Nevadas or Moab, but it’ll do!

5. In what way is your work a reflection of this point in history?

Every artist channels the sum total of their biology and experience, a unique subjecthood at a specific point in history. I am certainly conscious of and interested in this phenomenon, and think my best work synthesizes my favorite aesthetic histories and languages with my thoughts and experiences as a contemporary person.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY: A Visual Artifact, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?

I suppose these two paragraphs, copied below from a recent “Artist’s Statement”, might be a good descriptive introduction: My work of the past 20 years has consisted primarily of allegorical paintings of mutant plants and animals in languishing, overgrown landscape settings or posed as though for classical still life or portraiture. My current interests include examining human impulses, desires, and needs, including pleasure, intoxication, addiction, the erotic, totem, violence, greed, grief, and love. These aspects of human experience and identity, resultant of the interplay of evolutionary biology and culture, find expression in the history of visual culture as well as in the nearly schizoid array of cultural material and commodity in contemporary consumer capital. I combine various tropes from the history of painting, natural history and scientific display, pornography, fashion photography and retail display with narrative allegory, often describing political, social, economic, and emotional phenomena. As a painter, I value the visual, tactile and poetic pleasures of what paint can do and what it’s for: It’s formal and material qualities, its plasticity, and its usefulness in appropriating languages from the history of its use to certain semiotic purposes. My color palette has acquired the Day-Glo intensity of contemporary media landscapes; I revel in its visuality and vulgar seductiveness as much as cast a critical eye. My animals remain allegories of culture as much as avatars of my own psyche, whose expressions engage with the emotionality of daily fears, joys, pleasures, desires and outrages, and whose furs and skins are both tactile and toxic.

 

 

Philip Govedare: Sky Paintings

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With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

Sky Paintings, a solo show of new work by Philip Govedare opening November 7 and continuing through December 19, 2015.
There will be a conversation with the artist followed by a reception on Saturday November 14 from 2-4 pm.

Artist interview #33: Philip Govedare

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1) How is your process different in the studio compared to when you are out in the landscape?

I spend a lot of time in nature doing a variety of things, always looking for my subject matter and observing qualities of light, form etc. I do drawings from observation on site as a way of understanding and internalizing what I am seeing. My paintings are completed entirely in the studio and are a combination of imagination and memory, but also informed by drawing and the time that I spend in the landscape.

2) In a discussion with students about painting clouds, you asked: “You can’t capture it, so how do you capture the essence of what it is?” How have you approached this in your study, not only of clouds, but also of the fleeting nature of light in the landscape?

Light in the landscape is both fugitive and transformative. It is the essence of spirit and vitality, sets a mood, and in my paintings, is created in large part through color relationships. Through an exhaustive process of testing possibilities with moving paint around on canvas with a brush and palette knife, I arrive at a form or quality of light that is “found” rather than reproduced directly from observation. It is an inefficient process of trial and error, but it relies on knowledge and memory, imagination, and to some degree “the happy accident”.

3) What is the importance of observation, memory and imagination in your practice?

Drawing through observation is a process of selection, and a means to simplify and understand an infinitely complex world. What is left out is as important as that which is recorded, and the imagination plays a role in filling in gaps and making it whole. People sometimes ask me where I get my images, or if I copy photographs (I do not). The assumption is that painting is simply a matter of depicting an established or preconceived idea. My images are found through a seemingly endless process of revision and reconfiguration. A painting comes to life when I make a discovery, and encounter a situation that resonates, and is fresh, visually potent, and provocative.

4) You have mentioned: “skies set the emotional tone” would you expand on that thought?

As a species, I think we are biologically programed to respond to different conditions of weather and light. It is part of human evolution to be sensitive to these qualities since climate and weather have implication for basic survival. A brooding winter sky elicits a very different response than a summer sky with benign puffy white clouds. In my work, skies are less about a literal depiction of an observed phenomenon or place, but are a metaphor and a mirror to an interior landscape of individual consciousness. Serenity or tumult, stasis or upheaval, these are expressed through the transformative qualities of light and atmosphere, the suggestion of precipitation, wind and temperature. They embody the full range of the human emotion that includes hope and foreboding, joy and despair, bravado and frailty, and elicit questions of purpose, mortality and the eternal.

5) In your painting, what does it mean for a given work to succeed?

Matisse said that a painting is finished when anything that the artist adds to the painting detracts from it. In a larger sense, for me a painting should be revelatory, and contain a mystery or reveal some hidden truth. It must have a compelling presence that cannot be reduced to a simple formula or explanation. It should feed the imagination, and provoke a sense of wonder by presenting the familiar in a way that is fresh, challenging and somehow exhilarating.

6) How do you understand form in relation to expression?

I think that painting is all about paying attention, noticing things, and becoming sensitized to the world around us. There is the cliché that learning to paint is learning to see, and I have no doubt that I see the world differently as a consequence of painting. How things are constructed through the manner in which paint is handled (edges, brush work and surface quality, opacity and transparency) lends itself to expression. A particular technique adapts to the demand for expression, and finds a way to translate an experience in the most direct, subtle and complex terms. Ultimately, there is no formula for expression. The mystery of painting is that it is a deeply subjective enterprise, intuitive for both the artist and the spectator.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Sarah Bixler”

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With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #31: Sarah Bixler”

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1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I’ve always enjoyed paintings of white objects, in white environments. I was excited to have an excuse to paint one. I also rarely paint from still life, so the change of pace and logistics was a welcome challenge.

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2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I support myself through teaching and odd jobs.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I am still struggling with that identity I think.

4. What are your influences?

I am influenced by so many things, what I am reading, what I am doing… looking at. I think I became an artist (or at least wound up at art school) because it synthesizes so many different disciplines and gives me an excuse to be endlessly curious and to spend my time learning about lots of different things. Some painters I go back to again and again are Edwin Dickinson, Alberto Giacometti, Antonio Lopez Garcia, Anne Gale, Euan Uglow, Frank Auerbach, Villhelm Hammershoi, Seurat’s drawings, Gwen John… Any list feels incomplete. My list is always expanding, and evolving based on whatever problem I am working on.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

I have converted my dining room into a studio, or accommodated my studio to my dining room… It is not very big… maybe 150 sq ft, the light is South facing from large pane windows. I only belatedly realized how little wall space I have, but I love all the window space. Natural lighting is important to me. The walls are deep burgundy, which I became more and more aware of as I painted my white cup, on its white stand, with all the bounced light.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

My schedule is really unpredictable right now. So, a typical “day” in my studio… I’m not sure I’ve experienced that in a while. I do my best work in the morning so I try to get started early. I am often unsure of what to do first and I find that walking or running can help me sort through my priorities for the day. Once I’m back in my studio I’ll often start by looking at images I’ve collected relating to my project, or by just putting myself in the space, looking at my painting, tidying things up. I almost always listen to music or NPR or podcasts. Lately I’ve spent most of my time on small landscape paintings and studies outside.

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7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I am always working on something. I’ve been doing small gouache paintings and drawings of buildings and scenes outdoors. I think having many things going at once can helps me avoid overworking any one painting and also keeps the process new and exciting. I can try new things and experiment.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

Not really… Just paint, and stuff to paint with. I’ve been into edges, I really like having the contrast of a straight edge, so I’ve been fond of tape.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I like running, biking and exploring. I enjoy working with my hands, so I’m always falling into new projects. I just took apart my cellphone to install a new screen, which was more involved than I anticipated. I enjoy reading and do a lot of ‘research’ reading, I’d like to read for pleasure more often.