Painting in a photographic style allows me to showcase an ordinary subject in an extraordinary way, revealing its intricate details, blemishes, and irregularities. Each object is as unique as a fingerprint. I like challenging myself to seek out those original characteristics that make the object one of a kind. Creating paintings on a larger scale enables me to convey the subject’s unique characteristics and encourages the desire to reach out and interact with the subject. I am passionate about reproducing reflections, interesting textures, and luscious colors to create the illusion that the banana can be pealed, the foil can be crinkled, and the chocolate can be eaten.
I enjoy painting these everyday objects in the genre of Photorealism, also called Hyper-Realism. It allows me to use the camera like a sketchbook. I gather infinite information, design multiple compositions, and create various lighting through the eye of the camera. I also like the impact the camera has on an object, adding glare and reflections. Making all my decisions before sitting down in front of the canvas allows me to concentrate on the technical challenges of the piece. I choose to use watercolor and oil to execute my paintings because its ease in manipulation gives me the technical ability to make a finished painting appear photographic.
These Masters of the Photorealism Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s: Charles Bell, Ralph Goings, Richard Estes, Linda Bacon, and Tom Blackwell, have profoundly influenced my work. I am continuously intrigued by the large-scale paintings of gumballs, marbles, and pinball machines Charles Bell created. The new generation Hyper-Realist artists, starting in the 1990s, that serve as an inspirational source for my work are Tjalf Sparnaay, Robert Bernardi, and Glennary Tutor. I, especially, admire the fresh, contemporary, large-scale paintings of eggs, pastries, and salad that Tjalf Sparnaay created. These professional artists portray the highest level of craftsmanship, discipline and technical skill that I aspire to achieve in my work. If the viewer questions, “Is this a photograph?” then I feel my goals have been accomplished.
From my earliest recollection, I nurtured a love for pencil and paper. I enjoyed drawing the ordinary objects that surround me. As a youth, I studied art books and relentlessly practiced every technique and skill I encountered. During my college preparatory years, I explored various mediums, entered numerous juried shows, and won many awards. After graduating high school in 1981, I was accepted into Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Art, where I majored in Communication Arts and Design. At this time, I purchased the book Photorealism by Louis K. Meisel. Immediately, I connected with this realistic style of painting. During my fifth semester of VCU, I broke my hand in a car accident. As a result of this injury, my art career was redirected into Interior Design. In this field, I was still able to utilize my study of color theory, concepts of design, and attention to detail. In my spare time, I continued drawing and painting.
Twelve years later, I was given the opportunity to rededicate myself to my first love: creating art as a profession. Through my study of various artists’ styles and techniques, I passionately reconnected with the Photorealism Movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s. This style fit perfectly with my desire to paint mundane objects and my use of photographs in the design process. Recently, I have admired the fabulous paintings of the “new generation” Photorealist artists. Technological advancements have helped these artists to create extremely detailed paintings with a broader spectrum of color.
For over twelve years, I have been a professional artist; I have worked in many mediums and have exhibited in various galleries and festivals. I have won numerous ribbons, awards and cash prizes, including three “Best in Show” awards. In 2000, I participated in the “Go Fish” project of Richmond, Virginia. In 2003, I was commissioned by the Virginia Deer Hunters’ Association to create a painting as a gift to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in honor of their service to the state of Virginia.
Today, my artwork is enjoyed by collectors throughout the United States. My art studio is filled with new drawings of future paintings. The ordinary subjects have not charged, but the scale has become larger…sometimes…