Growing up, I spent a lot of time outside, picking up leaves, studying their shapes and colors, their textures and veins, taking pleasure in small details. Many years later, I still spend a lot of time looking up at the trees and down at the pathways beneath my feet. I’m taken by the beauty and transience of leaves, their brief life span a metaphor for our human lives; the marks they leave on paper, a signature of their presence. On walks, I collect handfuls of them in order to create one-of-a-kind prints.
When I return, I take my experiences directly into the studio and express them in a tangible form. I’m in pursuit of beautiful and accidental marks. To do this, I apply acrylic paint directly on to a printing plate, arrange the leaves on the paint, top that with paper (I use all kinds of paper, archival and otherwise), and print, using a brayer to push the paper onto the paint and leaves. This produces a monoprint. I work intuitively, with very little plan other than the shape of the leaves I've just seen outside. To make one piece, I print for several days or weeks, creating as much as 4 to 5 layers on each piece, winnowing out the “not so good ones” and adding them to a pile of collage fodder. The remaining candidates accumulate, covering the tables in my studio.
When I've accumulated several good prints, I pin them on the wall in large squares or rectangles, moving the prints around until I find a composition that feels right. I might then adhere them to a wooden panel with matte medium, or, mount them on matte board. This cutting and piecing creates a visual journal, each print a moment of time pieced together with others, to create an evocative landscape.
Using this simple printmaking technique and combining it with collage, I explore the seasons of my Northern California town with color and texture, capturing the subtle shapes created by leaves silhouetted against the sky.