I painted this series of chair. Some of these paintings were among the first pieces painted in acrylic. It was an early exploration of texture. I layered tissue paper with acrylic paint to disguise the canvas grain. And then, I used sharp objects or sandpaper to create a distressed look. What I learned from this experimentation has carried through to many other later works.
My goal for each painting was to paint the chair so that it transcended beyond being just a picture of a piece of furniture. These pieces are like portraits. Chairs have a personality of their own. What I love about these paintings is, they each allow the viewer to tell their own story in their mind. A chair can represent a person, real or imagined… perhaps a loved one that is no longer here.
I’ve been working on this series of paintings with two themes in mind. First, there is a theme of water. It’s essential to all life. And it ought to be right that is preserved for all. And in the case of sea life, the water holds many mysterious and beautiful creatures like juvenile rock fish and anemones. Second, there is a theme of restoration. As part of my process, I intentionally destroyed the painting by distressing them with sharp objects and sandpaper. Then I repaint the image. Whenever I do this, I’m always surprised by the results. Wonderful things happen that I would have never expected. It’s always more beautiful once it’s been restored.
There’s this incredible park not far from my home in Seattle, WA. At Volunteer Park you’ll find a Conservatory and the Seattle Asian Art Museum, of course. Plus, there are all sorts of walking paths, gardens, a kids wading pool, playgrounds, benches, and sculptures. My kids love it. I especially love the lily ponds that are in front of the art museum. They are teeming with koi fish. This is a series of paintings focused on the fish I observed there.
These paintings are full of vibrant colors and interesting, contrasting textures. To give each painting the feeling of movement, I engraved the backgrounds with a pattern of deep grooves, which are reminiscent of the carefully groomed sand found at Japanese gardens. To enhance the variety of textures, I’ve painted the fish onto a textured specialty paper which is affixed to the background. The fish are full of life, painted with brilliant cadmium yellows, oranges and reds, and in some cases silver and iridescent blue highlights.
I’ve been heavily influenced lately by the artist Chuck Close. He is best known for painting enormous realistic portraits from photos using a grid method. To create his paintings, Close puts a grid on the photo and on the canvas and meticulously copies the image cell by cell. I’ve employed this similar approach, except I’ve taken my images further away from realism. I’ve attempted to combine the Chuck Close’s technique with textures and techniques of my own. I’ve also chosen to work with small and medium-size canvases in order to achieve an abstract aesthetic when seen at a close distance. However, when the painting is seen at about 100 feet, a striking portrait comes in to full view.