The process of creating a painting is a way for me to enter and play in sacred space. I hold a BA in Art History from Oakland University and a BFA in Illustration from the California College of the Arts. I studied Tibetan thangka painting for three years with Pema Wangyal of Dolpo, a Nepali painter from an ancestral line of lama/artists. The images combine religious and ancient motifs and personal symbols with the inspiration I draw from the deep wells of decades of practice of meditation. I have studied techniques and materials used in traditional Indian painting and textile dyeing. I also make my own paint from 23K gold leaf, and employ mostly natural mineral and gem pigments.
Making paint from 23K gold leaf: I learned the technique from artist Rosie White, who studied traditional Turkish manuscript illumination at the Royal Palace of Topkapi in Istanbul. It is a time-consuming process that starts with gold that has been beaten into sheets that are thinner than the finest onionskin paper. To make paint, I spend many hours, usually over several days, mixing the gold, sheet by sheet, with a natural binder and water with a fingertip, until it becomes perfectly smooth.
Gem and Mineral Gouache and Watercolor: I use watercolors containing materials used in earlier times: minerals and gems. They are often identified with their places of origin, such as Sleeping Beauty turquoise from the Sleeping Beauty mine in Arizona and Amazonite, from a gem found in the Amazon basin. Some of the paints include lapis lazuli, malachite, amethyst, garnet, black tourmaline and jadeite.
First I dream my painting, then I paint my dream.
—Vincent Van Gogh