Artist’s philosophy

It is dark when I come into the studio in the morning. I light the stove and feel its warmth. I clear my mind and relax into a period of fairly deep meditation. There will be miracles by the end of this day. I’m going to see the piece I’m working on differently, and the progress on that piece will open new insights into art and the world. I pick up my guitar and play some of my songs or improvise something calm and spiritually uplifting. I put on one very low light and look at the piece I’m working on. I see just the raw form; no detail.

I begin work under low light. Before I’m finished, I will have tried every kind of light from every angle. A sculpture, unlike a painting, must justify its space from any viewpoint.

I enjoy painting: a fairly cerebral discipline. But I love the primal, tactile feeling of working the clay with my hands. It’s a feeling of being really wrapped up in the piece and working out my inspiration. With no distractions, I have just a real, intimate, tied-in time with my work.

I try to create sculptures that are intimate, with all the beauty I can pull out of the clay. My work draws primarily on the female figure for its innate beauty in line and form. That form is just a vehicle: a way to lay down the lines and to create the most harmony in a composition that I can. I make the hair of my figurative pieces into almost their own sculptural elements as I search for lines and decide which ones work.

My sculptures are very thought-out, with many little decisions, such as how to make that particular dress fold create that line. The way the lines and the rhythms work together intrigues me.

My figures are intelligent and genuine in their expressions. They are more than just portraits of any individual. They represent universal human ideals and emotions. I’ve always been introspective and my figures are, as well. I like people to look at a piece and feel themselves fall into that state of mind: “Joy,” “Serenity,” “Contemplation,” etc.

I find myself really thankful for the larger community that has nurtured and supported me in my art. I’m grateful for my education in art and other academic disciplines. Little gems from my professors come back to me as I work. And I’m happy to be part of an historic continuity of artists. There’s a spirit that is passed on, and I really enjoy teaching to continue that spirit.

Art is like life. Starting a piece, I put on globs of clay until I see a form. Working that with a tool, I move it toward validating the space it occupies. But, some days, globs of clay just stay globs of clay. And then it’s frustrating. Such a day is difficult, but tomorrow is a new one.

Hopefully, the piece will advance toward giving enduring satisfaction to the people it’s destined to be with. I don’t try to make a sculpture tell a story: I leave viewers to tell their own story through the piece. When they do, my work is finished.