I create quiet, intimate paintings and drawings of people and their bodies. Trained in classical realism, my work uses light, shadow and grace to depict the stories that our bodies have to tell. I use oils to capture the luscious colours that can be found in our skin and work on toned paper with pencil and chalk to capture the way light dances across our forms.
Like trees forming around foreign objects, our bodies grow, change and transform by the experiences we encounter. Our inner world and outer world both shape the bodies we have, etching our stories upon our skin and bones in barely perceivable tattoos, whispering the tales of our own personal folklore.
My own body has been through trauma, abuse, severe injury, chronic illness, pain, depression and anxiety: this has deeply shaped the body I have today, and the relationship that I have with it. My own experiences compel me to witness and share others’ stories, to pull back the curtains and unveil our silent histories.
Because our tales lie hidden just under the surface of our skin, we often feel invisible in our struggles, isolated from those around us because we cannot easily see others’ experiences. By telling these stories visually, it reveals how we all carry the same burdens, hurts and triumphs. By seeing the innate grace with which others carry their histories, it gives us permission to carry ours more proudly too.
This witnessing is a liberation, a sanction to feel at home in our own bodies and stories. It reminds us that we are not alone, that we need not be ashamed. By connecting with the honesty of another person’s body, we can more honestly and compassionately connect to ourselves and our own history, to see ourselves truthfully. To be truly seen is a benediction.
Every painting and drawing is an exploration of the person’s character, spirit and strength. I work primarily from life, working with my subjects over many hours and only supplementing with photo references when necessary. I deeply study each body, working to understand their organization and harmony from the bones outward: how they carry themselves, how they look lost in their own thoughts or sharing their passions. Surfaces have stories to tell; they tell us of the world that lies beneath.