1. The title of your current show (closing March 29, 2013) at Kentlands Mansion in Gaithersburg, MD is "Worldviews." Why did you choose this title?
I like the title "Worldviews" because it has a double meaning. It could mean views of the world or perspectives of people around the world.
Rather than seeking out places to paint, I looked through my vacation photos and tried to figure out which were the most compelling images. I also thought about how they would look together. The body of work references photos taken in the past six years in eight countries: China, India, Cambodia, Spain, France, Scotland. Norway and Canada. I also painted from my computer monitor because I could see more detail.
3. Your treatment of perspective draws the viewer into your compositions of places as diverse as dense urban India and remote Chinese wilderness. What do these places inspire?
I feel that these places represent the moments of awe in my life when I am so far from the familiar. The most surreal place I visited was in China's Guilin Mountains. The landscape looked as though it were taken right out of an ancient Chinese scroll. In downtown Hyderabad, I climbed to the top of the famous Chaminar mosque for a breathtaking view of the city. People, cars, and rickshaws flurry through the dusty streets and brightly colored marketplaces there.
Traveling abroad inspires a sense of adventure in me, and it also reminds me of the best times that I have spent with my family on vacation. Painting this series has given me the opportunity to reflect on the most memorable time of my life.
4. There is a soft, ephemeral quality to your landscapes and cityscapes. Your portraits and figures (not included in this show) are much higher contrast. Why the difference?
When I paint a portrait or figure I prefer direct lighting to show form. In my landscapes the lighting is diffuse, and my focus is on creating a sense of the atmosphere.
5. What does painting landscape teach that figure painting does not? How are the two similar?
Painting landscapes has helped me improve on the ability to look closely at textures and atmosphere. I get immersed in figuring out how to best convey a crumbled stone wall in a Cambodian ruin or a tiled roof on Gaudi's architecture in Barcelona. I am also drawn to the chaotic nature of places with large crowds as in my painting of downtown Hyderabad.
I believe landscape and figure painting are similar because places convey personality just as much as people do. Through both genre, I am trying to understand and portray the unique character of a person or place.
6. What is the idea behind the "Worldviews" book?
The first book I made featured artwork from my 2010 solo show at the Orchard Gallery - "Impressions of Bethesda." I launched it using the self-publishing website Blurb.com. I was inspired to do this after attending a Portrait Society of America conference where I noticed that the most successful artists often make books and instructional DVDs to promote their artwork. When I began working on my "Woldviews" series last year, it became clear that I should make another book for this show.