I of the Needle

“I of the Needle”

Self portrait | 36x96 inches | oil finger painting with brush -painted skin

Holding a needle in her right hand, the subject pulls thread through the fabric of the dress she is wearing. The dress is full of textural surfaces, the bodice is a patchwork quilted together. The fabric has no stretch, it’s stiff, prickly in places, and likely uncomfortable. Her skin is smooth and she wears no jewelry. Her left hand clutches the thick fabric which appears to be covered in tiny metallic scales or sequins. The dress is heavy and a little difficult to lift based on how she bends to pull it upwards toward the thread. Her expression is focused and not aware of a viewer. Her height is surreal but the proportions of the torso are not ellongated. Is she standing on a chair? Is she on stilts? The background at first glance seems to be a real forest, but on closer examination we find an antique light switch, giving away the fact it’s wallpaper. The carpet is a velvety green, reading almost like grass on first look, but no this is entirely an indoor scene. Is this woman reattaching a sequin away from the party? Or is she building a dress from scratch and we are catching her only partially done with her ensemble?

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Tiger Fire

Tiger Fire

96 x 72 in | oil finger painting on canvas

Painted to be life size, a large adult female tiger flies out from the deep foliage, her attention locked on a point just out of our view. Yellow fireflies encompass the forest floor, and what might be a fire blazes in the distant background over the hill. Is this painting a tiger in a fiery pursuit of her prey? Or is this a tiger fleeing a woodland that’s going up in smoke? I leave it in the eye of the beholder, for the interpretation of the scene in fact tells a lot about the person. For me personally, “Tiger Fire” is about strength, purpose, and risk. Artistically speaking it’s like an act of visual prayer to paint a scene that reminds me to believe in myself and tackle the craft of painting with all of my will. 

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Fuchsia Shamanka

Fuchsia Shamanka

36 x 96 inches

Portrait measuring 3ft wide and 8ft tall | 2019

Fuchsia is the color of her dramatic garment, but the word also sounds like “future”. This title was chosen because she is a shaman woman living in the future. This powerful and otherworldly priestess gazes down and knowingly at the viewer, her slightly glowing clothing seems to be lit from the inside. Light-Beings surround her, and an unseen fire warms the underside of her face. Could she be my great great great great granddaughter? By painting her portrait am I crossing time? Does she already exist and that is why I already knew what she looked like? These are questions that give me goosebumps and it’s what makes painting so thrilling.

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The Visitor

The Visitor

60 x 60 in | oil finger painting on canvas

"Duma and the Deer" was the original working title. And now I'll explain why.

I have a friend in Seattle, her name is Mari Cook. She's a scientist and lives on a property where deer and bears and coyotes and cougars have all been seen. It's lush, she specializes in native plant species so rather than having a "lawn" she has seasonal wildflowers. Her pets always seem to be as magical as she is. Duma the cat passed away several years ago, but Duma was to her like Foxy is to me. Quite unexpectedly the cat Duma actually had a relationship with a young local buck. They would greet each other regularly on the pathway between the barn and the house. Mari caught this photo of them looking at each other right before touching noses and sent it to me because she was so impressed with their sweetness. I saved it for 5 years in my folder marked "painting ideas". But I only recently developed the skills to be able to paint the subject matter. 

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Madam Saluki

Madam Saluki

46 x 80 in | oil finger painting on canvas

In 2016, when the congestion and lack of nature in New York City started bothering me, I took myself on a trip to New Mexico to snoop around. I wanted to determine if the desert might be my next home after New York. Having never been there, and with no friends in the desert to stay with, I got online and browsed through Airbnb rentals and found a fun little vintage trailer to stay in for a few days while I explored the region. Set in Northern New Mexico near Taos, the host, Amy, had a tan colored El Camino parked out front, and when she greeted my car a horde of dogs in all shapes and sizes came to greet me. They were hyper small breeds bouncing around like yippy popcorn. Towering over all of the pups, like a weightless horse, was an unearthly Saluki. Amy welcomed me to my separate yellow trailer and invited me into her own trailer for coffee. I was captivated by her Saluki perched on the sofa. The dog stared, unwavering, in my direction with an all-knowing air. Her eyes said “I’m just in a dog body right now, but don’t be fooled, I understand everything you two are saying and I’m just undercover.”

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Mayura Peacock

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36 x 36 inches | oil finger painting/brush painting hybrid

So it wasn't always intended to be a peacock....! It was originally a woman with her back to us pinning up her hair. My good friend Rochelle posed for the painting idea, but I was unable to execute her fingers with my own fingers! I learned that fine details like skin could not be accomplished with the tips of my fingertips, it was a frustrating but very illuminating lesson about the limitations of finger painting. Nevertheless there were parts of the half finished oil fingerpainting I loved. Now dry, pieces of her flowery shawl I couldn't bring myself to scrape off....So I scraped everything off the canvas except these fragmented pieces of blue and peach roses.

Right after I scraped the girl off the canvas

Right after I scraped the girl off the canvas

For 8 months the canvas sat in my studio bothering me, I knew there was a way to make a painting that utilized those dry textural fragmented pieces but I couldn't decide what! This was the FIRST finger painting I attempted to save with a paint brush. I propped the canvas up on the easel and began brush painting into it. I was a little scared, but also excited. I thought to myself that it might be really cool to have a hybrid finger-painting/brush painting for a change. After all it had been 9 years since I used a brush.

Not knowing or working about where the painting would go, I just started with greens, thinking it might become a botanical scene. I just let things flow. At some point I must have perceived what reminded me of a peacock feather because I began running with that theme. Leaning into this idea of a broken painting, I henceforth also broke my own rule  of no brushes. All bets were off! This painting would not be about fitting into my previous collection, it would be a new thing. The painting took on a microscopic perspective on feathers. So I turned up the music and let it flow. It's now one of my favorite pieces because it's not as literal as my prior works. I love how different it is.

 
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Source: irisscottfineart.com/blog/mayura

Cactus Nocturnas, Cactus Refractus, Terracotta Cupcake

“Cactus Nocturnas” | “Cactus Refractus” | “Terraccota Cupcake”

16 x 20 in, 16x16 in | oil finger paintings on canvas

I will be moving to New Mexico some time in 2019. This move is a long time in the making and it will be the first time I have lived in the desert. My dream is to build a small house, and a very large state-of-the-art studio and shop. I’m also eager to have a drastic change in scenery and energy, I’ve always loved big changes. In 2014 I moved to New York City, on a whim. It was a little scary at the time, but if you only do what you’ve always done, you’ll only get what you’ve already gotten. Time to shake things up. 

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