As a university student, my first life drawing and painting experiences drew me like a moth to a flame. Gesture and line helped me to find the eye/hand co-ordination needed to depict dynamic forms in motion. More than six decades later, these same tools continue to guide my representation of the human figure.
During my MFA candidacy at the University of Colorado, Boulder, I spent hundreds of hours life drawing inside and out of class. The dynamic rigor of advanced life drawing with professors Roland Reiss and Donald Weygandt (1962-63) laid the foundation of my style and media usage.
Minoring in art history, I was also influenced by Van Gogh, Japanese printmaking, Matisse, German Expressionists, Klimt, Schiele, and Kathe Kollwitz (one of the few women artists whose iconic images as a mother spoke directly to me). Professors Reiss, Weygandt, and my
then-husband Jacques Barchilon encouraged me to become a professional artist, even during my pregnancy, at a time when it was nearly impossible.
Seeing line, weight, tone, texture, and shape in order to express the beauty of the human form is a special type of awareness. As we witness and appreciate the character of each person, we move across time, culture and racial barriers.
The exciting challenge of observation, expression and communication still motivates my art.
Gestural drawing expresses my ongoing love of movement and is the base of how I lay a figure into the composition. Holding a piece of conté crayon, oil pastel, or pencil helps me to find the contour and touch what I see before me. Wash drawings express the fluidity and rhythm of body movement linking the artist and the subject.
My post-university use of scribbly oil pastels (in the 1960s) encouraged instinctive outbursts of emotion that helped to pull me through grief. Using drawing media that is permanent the moment you put it down, means you have to become one with the marks you make. Flowing into the next movement/shape, you accept accident as part of the process.
Over the years, I have found that each medium has its own magic. Changing them elicits new viewpoints. Collage and mixed-media give me both the spontaneity and flexibility to change my mark and my mind. Now that I’m older, my mildly arthritic hand holds more tightly and is more precise in its detail. Yet the dialogue between line, composition, color and form that began in the 1960s remains true.