My Horizon paintings have always walked a line between representation and abstraction. After years of working within a structure of horizontal bands which, however abstract, have always evoked the landscape, I have also begun working non-objectively.
Horizons: Growing up on the East Coast near the ocean and subsequently moving to the land of lakes and prairies in the Midwest, I find I am drawn to the openness, space, and light these areas have in common. A body of water, a strip of land, and lots of sky never cease to fascinate me and my eye is always drawn to the edges where the land meets the sky or is reflected in the water. I love the variety of these connections: hard-edged, diffuse, or multi-layered, depending on the light and atmosphere. The fluidity and transparency of watercolor makes it a perfect medium to explore these qualities of light, atmosphere, and connections. I begin by layering multiple washes, typically twelve to twenty or more on each piece, to progressively build depth, intensity, and gradual transitions of color. By layering transparent pigments, I create subtle changes and gradations from wash to wash; keeping the paper wet avoids a hard edge where one color transitions to another. The ‘horizon’, in contrast, is more spontaneous and here I intend to leave evidence of the action of the blending, backruns, and flow distinctive to watercolor.
Non-objective work: Eliminating the horizon line, I focus on the interplay of colors and shapes activated by line. I continue to work in watercolor and, in some pieces, maintain the subtle gradation of color I have used in my Horizon pieces but I am now incorporating opaque pigments that I’ve rarely used before, along with charcoal, sumi ink, watercolor pencils, and watercolor crayons. I start with a division of shapes or a few lines, and begin to build on that with watercolor, charcoal, and watercolor crayons. Watercolor has a reputation of being difficult and unforgiving. In this series I have enjoyed exploring those limits: lifting, layering, washing out areas and reworking. The depth and complexity of the resulting image appeals to me.