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I am not one of those artists who always knew they wanted to be an artist. I actually dreamed of being a scientist.. I was fascinated by astronomy as a young child and my mother lovingly encouraged me with books about science and gifts like magnifying glasses, microscopes and electronics kits.
So I attended the University of Arizona for one year, where I found out that I did not have a mind suitable for the rigors of science. I was discovering that though I was fascinated by science, my temperament was more suited to the visual arts . I seemed to take more joy in creating new and original art than in learning about how the world worked. But science was still a great love of mine, I think because it also has a creative aspect, and like art, searches for some expression of truth.
My father was an artist who supported our family of 9 with his paintings of Polynesia and wildlife, and my mother also was very talented in art and drawing and had studied fashion design at home. So all of us kids (6 boys and 1 girl) were artistically inclined. My brother Steve is a bronze sculptor in Oregon, fabricating one-of-a-kind life-size wildlife, my other brother Daniel is a watercolorist and excellent drawing artist. Another brother, Marc, has built a foundry and various casting apparatus and is a sculptor in metal and wood. My sister Marda is wonderfully creative in many mediums, including colorful acrylics, mosaics and photography, and she also has a degree in science and is now a geologist. Jeff is a wizard with fabrication of metal and could build anything imagined or desired. And my oldest brother Greg restores or builds from scratch, antique automobiles that are exquisitely beautiful and detailed, and win awards!
So I dabbled in oil paints that my father had given me and when I ran across a book about Maxfield Parrish, something about his work spoke to me. And when I learned about his painting technique, I felt a great urge to paint like he did.
Maxfield used pure transparent colors in individual layers, a technique called glazing. He never used white paint, which he called 'the deadly white,' but instead allowed light from the brilliant white of the primed canvas to emerge up through the layers of pure colors. Thus a layer of transparent yellow over a layer of transparent blue would produce a brilliant luminous green, unattainable by using opaque pigments.
I loved the idea of the pure colors and the transparency! How like a mystical gothic cathedral, light billowing through glorious stained glass windows; and I felt the spiritual quality of this technique.
I had early on developed an interest in metaphysics and philosophy, and was attracted to the art of the symbolists and the pre-raphaelites, like Rossetti, Holman Hunt and Millais. So I was off on my own exploration of personal symbolism.
My guiding muse seems to be Purity. I seek for the essence of the purest ideas, yet they are symbolized by specific elements of form. Some of the symbols I favor are the Child, the Feminine Figure, Angels, Stars, Space, Windows and Geometry.
The Child represents innocence, the perception of only goodness, without other. The Feminine Figure is symbolic of a loving awareness, without judgment or desire to change. Angels, those ethereal heavenly beings, are the purest Ideas of God, mysteriously appearing in the world. And the myriad Stars represent for me souls who have dared to dream of duality.
Space is the unlimited, a material hint of the infinity of God's Mind. The Window is the gossamer veil between worlds, the imaginary line between dualities. And Geometric form, especially as expressed in architecture, is symbolic for me of the perfection of God's Creations.
Science is still a great interest of mine, especially now as it begins to investigate the areas of consciousness and parallel universes. There is a great Unity in all things; Science, Theology and Art each endeavoring to understand the same reality. Philosophers also have always looked at these same questions that scientists, mystics and artists are curious and wondrous about.
When my daughter Lyrica was born in 1986, a new sense of the wonder of a child, exploring and curious, was birthed in me. She was adventurous and playful and would go off on her own explorations around Sedona, Arizona where we lived while she was growing up. She was an inspiration to me on many levels and was a model in some of my paintings, for example, Goodbye Earth and Dawn of Holy Light. Lyrica is also a very talented artist with a wonderful gift for seeing the subtle nuances of light and color. She creates her own beautiful lamp designs and is also a stage lighting designer. She is truly the light of my life!