Signature Techniques

Chaos to Order


The visual transformation from chaos to order is the best way to explain my most commonly used approach to painting.  Working spontaneously, intuitively and without exceptions, I combine color and gestural mark making to begin the layering process of my paintings.


I remind my students, “this is the stage in a painting to best capture the creative energy of the initial inspiration.  This is the beginning Chaos where I let the spirit of the fluid watercolor have a say.  The paint flows, the colors mix and the sedimentary and staining pigments interact in magical ways that I could never create with my own hand.”  Order is brought to the lively, colorful and chaotic first layer by working back into the painting in several layers.  Interlacing a planned compositional understructure and building visual depth with each layer.  I gradually introduce my imagery until the painting (whether representational or not) is complete.  The composition dramatic and the message subtle.

Ice Crystal Paintings


Freezing my watercolors in winter to see what i can “catch” is a wonderful mix of natural forces and human intervention.  Besides lacy ice crystal patterns caught on watercolor paper, this technique has caught the imagination of publishers, patrons and jurors alike.   “This is  my most recognized signature technique, which seems fair since I have been developing my methods for 30 years – some refer to me as the ‘ice crystal lady’!”


Once the pigments are mixed inside, I take them outside in subfreezing winter air, pour  water on the watercolor paper, then pour the pigment onto the water.  Mother Nature freezes the water and pigments forming intricate crystallized patterns.  Inspired by the unique textures, the vibrant colors and motion that come with each new painting, I develop the detail and composition into it’s final form.    I enjoy showing the viewer my mythical winter pond, looking straight down through layers of leaves, air bubbles and an occasional dragonfly trapped between the layers.  Nature is not just my  inspiration – it’s actually a “helping hand”.



“The most significant ‘signature’ element in my work is deep symbolism.” A flower is not just a bloom of color in nature but more a representation of one stage of life in our own, human, life-death-life cycle.  Looking through  layers of ice is like looking into ourselves.  The surface layer is easily recognized, but deeper exploration reveals the complexities within.


Especially prominent in the “Industrial Evolution” series is the image of the Raven which represents us as creatures of great adaptability, creativity and survival intelligence.  The Raven is calculating it’s next move in the evolution of survival, as are we.