I start out each day with a brush filled with paint. It’s not necessarily necessary, but it is a habit that I keep. When I paint, my mind wanders and I don’t think about my brush—I think about my paint. I put it aside, then I move my mind to the idea of painting. If I was still living in New York City, there’s a big difference between being present in my painting and doing it in a painting cafe. Painting in a cafe is very different from painting in an actual studio.
How has your craft evolved over the years?
I was painting at the bottom of the ocean for a while. When I moved to California I knew I wanted to paint, so I started off painting again in Los Angeles. I moved onto the coast in San Diego, on the Pacific. This was around the time I was doing a series of paintings of the city: The Beach, which was done on a sand dune. Then I made “Los Angeles,” which is about the most realistic version of the city.
My current work is the “City of Angels,” which is about Los Angeles. My first big paintings were done on a beach in Costa Rica. It’s on top of a rock, and it was so cool to make a work of art that’s about something real.
Your paintings were very much based on your experiences as a child. Do you prefer to concentrate on the small things, like being outside in the sun or the smell of pine trees?
I prefer to focus on the big things—the buildings, the light, the feel of the environment. When I look at the light in Paris and London, I see the same light. The light in Los Angeles is so beautiful: it’s intense throughout the day, it never goes out. It’s such a contrast to the sunlight in Costa Rica, and when the sun goes down it feels like you might fall asleep. It’s also really beautiful to paint landscapes with the raindrops flowing over the rock.
It was really exciting to make a big landscape when I was first making my paintings as a kid. With “City of Angels,” I wanted to focus on the little details, focusing on the city itself to paint more of a feeling.
What kinds of memories come back to you from painting?
When I’m painting I look around my apartment to make sure the paint is still there and not gone. When I’m at my desk, I get a good
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