I have been painting longer than I can clearly remember. I do know I was sometimes in trouble in grade school when I opted for unauthorized visual work over written.
Early on, I thought that realistic painting was the epitome of artistic excellence. Just before I entered art school at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, I had decided to paint a number of classically styled, realistic paintings to help me to move on to abstract painting.
At the IAIA, my work gravitated toward Southwestern and Native American themes. I used brilliant colors to express beauty and the native theme to represent my own background as an Alaska Native.
Moving on to the Maine College of Art in Portland, I was taught more of a European-influenced method, which took my work in a different direction. I began to paint realistically again and, as long as I lived in Maine, I painted the sea in all of its moods, colors and movements.
After graduation from MECA and moving to Vermont, my work became eclectic; with some paintings in a bright Southwestern palette and other landscapes with New England color values. Although they looked very different from each other, to me there was a connection. One style represented the unseen world; the other the world around me. The Native American themed paintings took on a spiritual quality with elements, shamans and other entities only hinted at. Meanwhile, the landscapes represented the world I live in and then that took a different turn as well. The landscapes became cloudscapes exploring the colors of a "white" cloud. The clouds became a bridge to a lot of spiritual musings.
So, today when I pick up a brush I might move in either direction. I've been told that I should adopt a style and stick with it, but to me these are both elements of who I am and how I paint. And it's just plain fun to show the viewer.