Exploring Themes
Exploring Themes

As I wait for “What’s Next,” I paint my way to understanding the present moment, what came before, and what lies ahead.  Looking for themes in my work helps me in this process. Join me as I explore the themes weaved within my works. Finding threads that connect artistic works is part of the process: a process that brings the artist and the viewer to a deeper understanding of oneself and our place in the world.

Creative Process Series

Dad never considered himself an artist, but his scientific research is full of detailed drawings of cells. I like thinking that I made “Dad’s Cells” with my father. Look and you will see his cell drawings hidden throughout this canvas. This creative act supports my process of letting him go.

Dad's Cells, 2018

Liminal Hope Series

COVID-19 has created a liminal landscape where we cannot get to “What’s Next,” and we intensely experience "Waiting’s" power to alter time and space. We are all hovering in time- waiting with a strange anxiety to see “What Will Be.” Liminal Hope is a series of paintings that explore liminality in the “In-Betweens” of life. Some of these “In-Between Paintings” explore ordinary waiting spaces that depict the tension, confusion, and anxiety we experience when transitioning from what has been to what will be in normal, everyday life. More recent works depict liminality amidst COVID’s influence on our experience of place and space. Liminal Hope reflects the strange, disorienting, new COVID -19 landscape that leaves us all grasping for hope juxtaposed by the ordinary, everyday experiences of liminality we previously waited within. Weaved throughout is the theme of hope and its power to allow us to sit and wait for tomorrow a little less anxiously. You can explore this page to learn more about Liminal Hope.

Liminal Hope, 2020

Art, Liminality, and Thoughts on Hope

I create marks, choose colors, and make choices on a canvas. "Right Now" is all mine and I have some control over something. In an unreliable world, my canvas can be relied on. I still have a place where I can dream. As I paint, I hear the words “I am Hope” rise within me. I sense, against the odds, that hope is here.

I am Hope, 2020

Finding Hope

Creative expression draws liminal spaces to speak to us. A trip to a museum feels mundane and dry. To your great surprise, a piece of work captures you in time and space, stirs you within, and leaves you enraptured. A Broadway show passes slowly until a song wakes up something inside. You look down on the stage and notice that the song seems to slow and the stage seems to glisten. Suddenly, you ache for a new day. A sympathy card looks like it will hold the usual niceties, but it surprises. The careful and sensitive crafting of words first makes you stop and sit in your sorrow, but then it magically transforms your sadness. Finally, you see the possibility of joy. On a day that pretended to offer the same as the day before, a song brings you out of a seemingly endless sameness. Where the hands of time once refused to budge, at last you hear a ticking. Art can hold us in time and space, but it can also move us through it. Art ensures that there will be something easily overlooked that you must see, experience, and understand: something crucial. With it, we may finally move through our liminal places and spaces and find new hope. Even though today may look like it holds less hope than ever, hope is here.

Hope is Here, 2020

Big Hope Today

I don’t know about you, but I could use some “Big Hope” right now. I’m tired of being locked in my house. I’m tired of not knowing whether my toilet paper will run out. I’m tired of worrying about the future. I’m tired of the waiting and not knowing what the future holds. I can’t make plans and I can’t revisit things. I am stuck in time and in place. Liminality rules.

Social distancing is getting really old. I don’t have a lot of places I can go. There are so many restrictions. I know that staying home is the right thing to do, but I still feel the isolation and uncertainty regardless. COVID-19 is not Hope’s friend.

People worry that things will get even more restrictive and there will be little space left for escape and pleasure. I’m lucky that they can’t take my paintbrush away. My canvas is my escape, and my paintbrush helps me find new energy and purpose.  No matter what happens, I have a place where I can sort things out and remind myself that there is hope. Painting tells me that better days lie ahead. Even when the outcome looks bleak, I create my way to a better place. That’s why I have “Big Hope” today.

Big Hope Today, 2020

Hope is Everywhere

There are a lot of places I can’t go right now. I can’t visit my family out east, I can’t go swimming, and I can’t go out for coffee with a friend. It will be a long time before I will sit down for dinner with Craig and the kids in a restaurant. Craig’s heart condition leaves us on a very short leash during this time of social distancing. Once they have a vaccine, we can explore the world again. Until then, I sit at home wondering what’s out there in the world. What are people doing? How are they handling it all? It’s so strange waiting here with no real plans and no real future that promises to be much different than today. That’s why I have got to find some hope that’s not grounded in some thing, some place, or some plan. My hope has to come from within me because that’s a place that can’t be put on lock down. I control what happens inside of me and I have autonomy if I look in the right places and if I look for the right things.

With every stroke of my brush I am re-grounded in the moment. I might sway back and forth a little bit- gently drifting into yesterday and floating towards what might come to be tomorrow. I’m not tossing in a tumultuous sea, though. My canvas keeps me moored in the “Right Now.” It gives me a place to reflect and think about what I put my hope in today. I discover the spirituality of the present moment and the types of simple gifts God gives there: things like health, hot water for a shower, safety, a full refrigerator, and a sunny day. This strange liminal space that I am waiting in is showing me that there is good stuff in places I never really noticed it before. Today, liminality speaks to me that hope is everywhere.

Hope is Everywhere, 2020

OK with "Right Now"

No matter what tomorrow brings, my “Right Now” is all mine. Apprehension is no longer what my present moment brings. Art is still my best escape from the disorienting liminal place I am stuck within. I can paint myself to a better place, so that’s what I do. I’m OK with “Right Now.” I want others to be OK with “Right Now,” too. I have a little power over that. I paint images that tell me, and others, that “Right Now” can be OK despite everything around us that says it isn’t. They are images that speak hope. Every artist has a voice and each one can speak to the collective “Right Now.” If the voice is loud enough, others could hear and be OK with “Right Now,” too.

OK with "Right Now," 2020