My formative years in Europe were saturated with art. I have vivid memories of standing in front of the massive “Las Meninas” at the Prado and being drawn into the beautifully mysterious space that Velazquez created. Standing in front of the “Mona Lisa” in Paris is a clear memory of looking through a window into another world. That type of creativity is contagious. I longed to be an artist too, so I emulated the artists I admired through drawing and painting.
When I was ready to formally study art, I pursued it with my favorites in mind; Da Vinci, Caravaggio, M.C. Escher and Dali. My teacher, Christopher Magadini, was acclaimed for his illustrative and composition superiority. To obtain depth, he was insistent upon the mastery of chiaroscuro. I drew spheres and flowing cloth to the point of annoyance! Now I am so grateful that Magadini taught me a solid foundation of drawing skills to build upon.
In college I was also studying molecular biology and chemistry. Those pursuits had a strong influence on my curiosity for living organisms. My imagination was sparked by discovering the mechanics of life and that intrigue continues to be an important part of my creativity.
When I saw my friend Hanne’s photo of her houseplant, I was so inspired by the transparency and the brief glimpse into the workings of a leaf that I knew I had to paint it and paint it big!
I began with an exercise of exploring the plant that had inspired me. I examined how it grew and moved; what is close to the surface and what things are overlapping or hidden. I looked at it from several different angles and experimented with close cropping and negative shapes that I found interesting.
Then I got out my big house painting brush and started in on it. There are many layers of color used. The brown background has several glazes of reds, yellows and purples, that can be seen differently in different light. The thicker flows and fragile transparent spaces of the leaf were very intriguing to me as I interpreted what I saw using many shades of greens and yellows.
"A New Leaf" was a joy to paint. I hope you enjoy it as well!