I create art for the pleasure that it gives me. The whole drawing and painting process is very energizing. To watch a pastel painting evolve into a recognizable image is a challenging and fun experience for every piece that I do.
I try to constantly learn more from past and modern masters, and studying their work is very inspirational to me. I can even study the oil paintings of other artists and apply the techniques to my pastel approach; after all, pastel can be considered a painting medium because you can blend pigments together. My favorite American oil painter from the past is Edward Hopper; his color schemes and brush work are very fresh and alive. My favorite modern pastel painter is New York artist Sam Goodsell; his technique is very accurate and he can create a sense of “mood” and accuracy to the figure subjects that model for him. I am also a big Edgar Degas fan, for his pastels. Many consider him to be the greatest pastel painter who ever lived. Even though my pastel painting techniques are very different from the above mentioned artists, I think that it should be that way. Every artist, regardless of their preferred subject matter, color pallet and technique, should develop their own way of working and thinking. And when the artist keeps challenging him or herself to experiment with different facets of art (subject matter, color usage, techniques..etc), I feel that the artist will grow and evolve into a more versatile and better artist. One of my favorite art professors at Edinboro University was James Vredovoge who always told his students that “it isn’t the subject matter of the drawings and paintings that you produce, what counts is the aesthetic quality (color, composition, and techniques) that make a great piece of art.”
One of the most important theories and choices that I make in my work at the present time is the use of only a few objects within my compositions. My personal friend and gallery owner, Mark Panza, suggested this approach to me a few years ago, and I think that it has helped me create stronger “balance”, color usage, and technique in my pastel paintings.