From 2014 to 2023, I painted eight large-scale, close-up portraits. They are portraits in one sense, but in another sense these paintings aren't meant to merely be likenesses of anyone. Rather, my intention was to dive deeper into what it means to meet someone more directly, to meet their awareness, awakeness and beingness.
There is a power in deeply meeting someone's gaze with your own. For a moment, there can be a sense of timelessness, with no separation created by the mind. This is the intention of my paintings – to invoke recognition of stillness and oneness. This intention is deepened by my painting process, which for me is a form of meditation. My mind is stilled as it is given over to awareness, and the painting seems to emerge on its own. Each of these portraits is the product of hundreds of hours of silent attention.
I chose my subjects from my family, friends and acquaintances, all of whom have some quality that intrigues and inspires me. I took photographs of them to work with, and my intention was to see that which is aware in them and put that into paint.
My intention is also for the portraits to be real. Real, as in alive. Photo-realism is not my goal, and I agree with Matisse that exactitude is not truth. I don't use grids or projections and want to be true to my experience of the subject during the entire painting process. As I paint, I see more clearly and make changes, and that is all part of the process. Eventually, it feels like I am tuning into a resonance or radio signal. I know I am finished when the signal is finally clear.
I'd like to add that although I am grateful for technology to be able to share photographs of my paintings online, they are meant to be seen in person, where the portrait takes up most of one's field of vision. It is in this way that one can best have the direct meditative experience that these paintings offer.