My series, ‘Flatteringly Flat,’ revels in the aesthetic interplay of pattern on pattern. Inspired by the visually incomprehensible space created by a similar pattern play in John Everett Millais’ ‘Isabella,’ my work adds a contemporary touch through the modern hairstyles and clothes. The portraits showcase the beauty of the repetition that can be found all around us, from the stripes in our clothes to the tresses of our hair. I created a flat sense of space in each by eliminating the shadows in the clothing and background, leaving the viewer’s eye to try and determine where the sitter is in relationship to themselves and the patterned background.
I meticulously created each design using antique wallpaper patterns as initial guides. The patterns were then transferred and repeated by hand, adding much more math than I intended to the drawing process. After the patterns were penciled in, each color was painted with ink or watercolor twice to achieve the level of flatness I desired. The result is a series of kaleidoscopic portraits that keep the viewer at bay until a polite ‘distance’ from the subject can be determined.
Pen and ink portraits
When I was little, I used to watch my father draw portraits in his sketchbook. That was all he drew: faces and faces and faces. I told him I was going to be a completely different artist. So after much thought, I drew animals. I drew cats and dogs and horses right up through high school. Then I started college and one day, halfway through a figure drawing class, I stepped back from my sketch and realized it could have been from my father’s sketchbook. Apparently I’d run away from portraits so far that, without realizing, I’d come round the other side. Now all I seem to draw are faces. There’s just something magical about the way a few dots of ink become a portrait with a story.
Playing host to an over-active imagination leads to lots of unusual ideas and I tend to let them run wild on my paper. I draw inspiration from Old World fairy tales and odd scientific facts but then continue the threads of the story with ‘What if…?’. From forest-dwelling polar bears to Shakespeare-quoting fish, there’s a touch of humor to every illustration I ink. There’s also something little and unexpected for the viewer to find in each drawing. Happy hunting.
Life Drawing Sketches
Life drawing nights are my favorite art outing at the local galleries. It's challenging and exciting and sometimes extremely frustrating to draw from life but I know I grow so much from it. I really enjoy sketching with colored pencils so there's less of a desire to erase.
A whimsical look at some big American cities. These maps were created to be screenprinted. They make great play mats for children.