statement // about my work

I enact beauty by painting with "radical amazement"

I began painting in earnest in August of 2020. 

I had been meaning to paint, hoping to paint for many years — but was always too busy with other projects. When the pandemic hit, the excuses fell away. I picked up my brushes and began. 

I started from the beginning: how to use the color wheel, how to mix paints, what brushes to use. I progressed from the basics and learned to add depth to my paintings, devise more compelling landscapes, and create an impression of light. 

As I continue to paint and learn, my outer world aligns ever more closely with my interior spaces. This brings me profound joy and an internal sense that I am (finally) doing what I am meant to do: creating art from the inside out -- and then diving back in again for more -- and back out again, to share what I have found. 

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Here is my purpose: to seek insight and clarity; to experience beauty; and to share what I find with care and conviction. I approach my work with what Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel called “radical amazement” -- that is, with a deep sense of wonder and abiding beauty. This sense of beauty -- sensing beauty -- is central to my work. 

Beauty describes a personal, individual experience of perceiving with awe or appreciation.

If, as Cornel West famously said,“justice is what love looks like in public,” then beauty is what love feels like in private. 

Objective evaluation yields truth; and we determine what is good intersubjectively, in community. 

Beauty completes the picture: It is a question of taste, always personal, always fully present and authentically ours. Beauty tells us what we love; it illuminates our inner spaces. 

Beauty is a choice: We may cultivate it with intention and honor its value. Creating and perceiving beauty are skills we can practice and learn.  

My current work is just such a practice, a meditation on the process of its making, an ode to the joy and possibly of painting. When I paint, I commit to beauty as a primary mode of discernment. 

That means I believe my job as an artist is to love my work, process and product, with total commitment and with deep compassion. 

We search for truth by observing, applying logic or reason; and we evaluate what is good or just in dialogue with others. So how do we encounter beauty?

We do it subjectively. With attention. By noticing what we respond to. What we love. We do it by listening to our inner voices -- this is the only way. For beauty is precisely that which is realized and illuminated in individual, personal experience.  

My work is a means of enacting beauty. 

For me, painting provides both the conditions under which beauty comes into being and the possibility of satisfying my own subjective evaluation. I paint in order to be amazed; and I am "radically amazed" by painting. Painting is if and then, medium and message.   

Put another way: I practice self-awareness and experience my own essential goodness and worth by creating art that I love -- while also inviting viewers to illuminate their own inner spaces and personal experiences -- by seeing the world with “radical amazement” of their own.