Color takes my breath away. I painted as a child, and studied art seriously in college. Then I began a career as a writer and teacher in the 1980’s, which is ongoing. I returned to painting and showing my work in the 1990’s in New Orleans. Recently, I have participated in several group shows and collaborated with other artists to create illustrated fiction. Since an extended stay in Paris in 2017, and health concerns that have caused me to change focus, I have launched a more concentrated studio practice.
In all my work I am moved by the principle of palimpsest: that under every mark there is another mark, that we are always writing over the old with the new, and seeing the new in what is left over from another time, another season of meaning. Life in New Orleans is a constant reminder that the past isn’t even past.
I often edit my paintings the way I edit a story. When I use water soluble oils, I wash the canvas and paint the ghost, finding new images in what was left behind. The German Expressionists, Chaim Soutine, and others have been an inspiration to me.
In my mixed media collages, I use acrylic, collage and oils on canvas. In the current Alchemy of Night Series, a duet with photographer Leona Strassberg Steiner I took photographs in the Bywater neighborhood—a collage itself of architecture, history, haunted places and illustrated places— and altered the photos to make new visuals. I combined the images with painting and drawings to render the feeling and emotion and a sense of the past of this part of the world. I have been inspired by Romare Bearden, Jean-Michel Basquiat, classical African art for its sense of music and contrast, as well as Steiner’s photos, for this exploration.