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I’m psychotherapist and an expressionist painter. In my art, I want, first, to explore unconscious material and, second, to produce a piece of artwork that I’ve never seen before. Rather than asking “What do I want to paint today?” I ask “What wants to be painted today?” I will exert some control over theme, but not outcome. This is the invitation to the unconscious.
I start with a mess. A BIG mess. I use acrylic paints, lots of water, alcohol (isopropyl, not the other kind), charcoal, magazine clippings and water soluble pencils to make an underpainting which will both inform the resulting image, and suggest new shapes and figures. I spend a long time trying not to be done with it--I give it time to gestate while I tease along it’s resolution. This is both joyful and difficult. After the mess, I use reductive painting to find a story and a focal point. I know I’m done when I’ve had a long look and can’t think of anything else to change.
I work mostly on psychological themes which lurk in my psyche: relationships, identity, meaning/purpose. People often ask how psychotherapy and art go together. My work as a therapist gives me tons of ideas for paintings. I spend long hours talking to people about their lives, their emotional worlds, their families, and so on. I come away from these very important conversations with a need to paint them. That's why my themes center around relationships, identity and meaning. For example, my "Dinner Party" series is about how we care for each other. We feed each other, go out to celebratory dinners, invite people over--all to have a meaningful way to be together. So this series is really about family and friends. My "Strongman" series is about the lengths we'll go in order to prove ourselves or find love and friendship.
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