The great privilege of being an artist is that you are allowed to stare at people.
The longer you look, the more you feel the exquisiteness of the moment. For me, art is about trying to capture that ephemeral, delicate moment. The living, breathing subject, whose eyes blink, obviously inhabits a sphere of his or her own imagination. At times the model conveys boredom and even discomfort. But I am looking for something else.
Although all my work is done from a live model, ultimately the subject I am drawing exists in a dreamlike fantasy space. I do not try to create a likeness of the subject or render a photographic reality. Being in the presence of a model allows my imagination to engage with the infinitely varied shapes and planes of each human face and to perceive its near-mythic perfection.
I use charcoal and graphite, some of the oldest media, along with the intense, pure color of pastels. I like the way these media allow me to express emotion directly. When drawing with charcoal, I use my entire hand--the side of my hand and my palm along with my fingers. My hands become instruments. All textures are available to me--from wisps to blasts of the darkest black. Pastels add color, allowing me to actually paint with my hands.
I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I am told that when my mother was giving birth to my younger brother, I used an entire roll of paper towels to draw an elaborate set of railroad tracks for her. As an undergraduate art major, I carried a notebook with me everywhere I went and drew whatever I saw.
For my senior art project in college, I made an animated film, painstakingly drawing over 2,000 images, which I then inked, painted, and photographed, all in my dorm room. I was fascinated that I could make drawings move. In film school, I specialized in animation, again because it allowed me to spend all day drawing with pencil on paper.
After a successful career as a commercial animator in California and New York, I taught animation production, animation history, and live action production at Duke University.
I now live in Taos, New Mexico, where I draw and paint all day.