I grew up in San Diego. In 1978, I left home to attend college at Yale where I majored in Religious Studies and took my first drawing class.
After graduating, I worked for twelve years as a computer programmer writing software for DNA and protein sequence analysis. My evenings were spent painting. My husband and I moved to New York City in 1992.
In New York, I found the traditional art education that I had sought for years. I learned of the Boston painter R. H. Ives Gammell, who had died a decade earlier, and I found teachers who had studied with him. Gammell is a significant figure in American Realism, mainly because of his impact as a teacher. He taught a generation of artists in his private atelier, and his legacy can be seen in the spate of independent, non-degree granting ateliers which are revitalizing art education across the country.
As I mature, my dedication to Realism grows. To me, Realism is about observing, or attending to a subject. It moves people because it bears witness to the ordinary. It is comforting to realize that somebody else notices, brushstroke by brushstroke, what you notice, and finds it significant.
But my understanding of Realism, and verisimilitude, is broadening. I'm noticing that American Realism seems to be becoming increasingly precise descriptively, at the expense of the subjective experience of vision. Vision is messy, the world is infinitely complex, and I'm beginning to think that to be true to our experience, Realism should embrace both confusion and ambiguity . . . that it would be more "realistic" if it did.
I'm interested in visual neuroscience. I think a lot about visual ambiguity, and how it functions in a painting. I understand the conventions of the European painting tradition to be empirical discoveries about how we see.
My family moved from New York to Portland in 2001. I love painting in Portland. Its drizzly, grey skies create a perfect, soft light.
Updated: January 18, 2012