I live and paint in the same small, post-industrial New Hampshire town that I grew up in. I know all my neighbors, and I am just as happy talking about motorcycles as artmaking- although I find conversations often move back and forth between the two. I am invested in the people around me and the places they live and work. As a result, I have started to make body-less portraits by painting people's tools, workshops, décor, and interior spaces. I focus on visual surfaces and psychological undercurrents to capture the presence of these spaces and objects.
Surface is what most of us see when we look at each other, and I treat my paint surfaces with special care. Everything on them, including the straight lines that aren't quite straight, is considered. I use a wide array of palette knives to get just the right textures, and then draw through the paint while the first layer is wet to create lines that don’t just float on the surface, but are in the paint itself. I then apply a beeswax finish in a process that I learned from furniture making. This pulls the entire piece together, unifying it with the patina of age.
Tools have been an integral part of my life from a young age, and over time they made their way into my paintings. These specialized objects are made for a person's hands, and they stand in for a body in my art. I also include other objects that we keep around us, such as flowering plants and motorcycles. I love the energy of these complex items—both natural and manmade—and I try to capture their essence without diagramming them.
In my paintings I place these objects in illusionistic space, because just like hand tools are made for a specific grip, furniture is made to accommodate a body, and we arrange our spaces to accommodate how we live. I enjoy visiting other people's shops and workspaces, where I can learn so much about them by observing the space they create for themselves and the tools they use. We have control over our interiors in a way we don't with the eyes, noses, and mouths we are born with.
I grew up in a small house with five sisters, so I have been trying to get the most out of space my entire life, and I bring that same sensibility to my paintings of objects and interiors. I organize them like I am cleaning a room, and fill my surfaces with objects that have been loved, whether tools that have been handled until they resemble sea rocks, or plants that have been watered and given the space to thrive. If plants and mechanical tools have traditionally had gendered references, I break down that dynamic and treat them equally as beautiful, organic shapes that naturally fit and fill space.
I enjoy capturing people's energies through their environments, and I try to transform that into art that would sit just as comfortably in their homes as a whitebox gallery in a city.