Statement about Artwork

Colors, forms, and movement from the natural world inspire my paintings, merging boundaries between representation and abstraction. My mind is filled with images from my experience in geology and microbiology with scales from the landscape to the microscopic. I want to engage the viewer with ambiguity and changes in perspective.


Over the past few years I painted a series of more than 70 closeup portraits of animals, using watercolor, gouache and ink on bristol board. I developed a fascination with the way that color and extreme magnification could turn a realistic photographic drawing into something that might initially look like a landscape or abstract painting, but with a change in perspective could click into a recognizable animal. Children are better than adults at recognizing the animals.


Between 1980 and 2004, my early watercolor and mixed media paintings evolved from landscapes to non-representational expressionistic images with suggestions of animal figures and faces. After taking a biological illustration course in 2004, I found myself unable to work in the abstract mode, so would place realistic figures into a more abstract background. This then evolved into the “Close Encounters” series, which uses a more integrative approach to combining abstraction and realism.


I am a retired scientist (geologist, microbiologist) living in Santa Cruz, California, where I observe birds, do nature drawings and photography, and discuss films and books.