36 Candice Bohannon

Candice Bohannon is an extraordinary painter from Texas, near Dallas. Her work has been featured in books and periodicals, such as Fine Art Connoisseur, American Art Collector, Southwest Art, The Artist’s Magazine, International Artist, and many others. She won first place in 2012 from The Artist's Magazine competition, 2nd place in 2016 from the Art Renewal Center, and many other honors.

'With These Hands (Self-Portrait)'

Candice Bohannon grew up in northern California "in the mountains near Lake Tahoe". In an interview with Tony Curanaj and Edward Minoff (Suggested Donation Podcast, Ep. 49, 2019) Candice talks about her life and home there:

"The house I grew up in, you can't even see your closest neighbor. We had eight acres, it was all pine tree forest, you know, so I'm used to the quiet, country, and not having a lot of people around, and not a lot of siblings or family around either.

"I had a lot of things to work through as a kid, I didn't really have a great upbringing. It was a beautiful place, and... I wouldn't say, like, very negative things about my family, but, you know. My parents split up before I was two years old. And it was rough, like, just feeling alone like that, in a very quiet, secluded place, and not having very much of family around either. Just, kinda raise yourself, feed yourself, wake yourself up for school, all that kind of thing. I didn't know why I was so sad, or disturbed. It just felt a little lonely, and so I think I drew and read a lot.

'Fire Cloud'

"I started drawing pretty young in life. I just really enjoyed creating things. I didn't care what it was, I would always just make things for people. That was how I showed my love and my care for people. It had to be handmade. When you have a lot of time by yourself and you have creativity in you, you just start making things, you know. So, I did.

"There's something extremely satisfying about creating something physically. It's kinda like listening to a lot of music when you're young, and you're really in into it, and it helps you work through emotions and stuff. That's a lot of what it was for me too. I can just work through this stuff by just scribbling and drawing. Like oh, let me try to draw this bird or this tree, and then gaining just a little bit of confidence in life, because, hey I actually drew a tree - that's cool. I was able to control something in my life and create something. That's pretty awesome, you know? It's a form of meditation, for sure. You just sit there, and everything gets real quiet as you focus."

'Overflow', 2015

Candice earned her BFA (with honors) from the Laguna College of Art & Design (LCAD), which introduced her to many new things, as she explains (Curanaj & Minoff, 2019):

"I didn't draw anything but nature, really, to begin with. And, I never painted until I got to college. I actually thought, maybe, you could maybe get a drawing degree? I was looking for a drawing major, because I'd never painted before, and I'm like, I like drawing, I'll stick with that."

She adds, "I never looked at other artists until I got to art school. And, you know, when the teachers started saying all these names, like, everyone in the art history books, all of a sudden I felt like, Oh no! I was failing this test I never knew I was gonna take. I should know these names! Who are these people? I'm bad with names! How will I ever know them all? But, as soon as I took a little art history, that helped."

'Ice Flow'

Candice talks about how she chose LCAD (Curanaj & Minoff, 2019):

"I was really hungry for it. I wanted to be an artist. I didn't want anything else my whole life. I just wanted that 100%, and I was just gonna to dedicate myself to it, I was gonna be like a monk, like this is all I'm going to do. I'm not even going to date. I just wanna make art, you know? Like, even finding the school I went to. There was a portfolio day in San Francisco, and they had all these lines for all the different big schools, and I think I was in line to talk to the people from RISD or something.

"And, it was a long line, we were waiting forever. And, there was this little booth with this little bald guy. And, he was just ripping people on their portfolios. And it wasn't at the RISD booth. It was right next to me at the LCAD booth, And I was just listening to him just kinda rip people apart and say, like, "Nah, this is shit. You should not be artist," with this accent. I don't know what he was, just some European. And, I got out of line I was in, like I want to go in that line. I want this guy to really tell me if I'm messin' around here, do I have what it takes? I wanna get better. I wanna know what's wrong with my stuff.

"All the other lines were like, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is great! So, it's $30,000 dollars. Just sign here. You fabulous little butterfly, just spread your wings and fly to our little  location with all your money, please!' So yeah, I got into that line, and he gave me a good crit, a real honest crit. And I was like, 'Okay, I gotta go to this college. They're actually gonna teach me stuff.'

"I was just hungry for it, I really wanted to get better. And, so I took to formal education really well. I liked all the assignments. I ate it up. I took as many units as I can. I treated it like it was med school or something. I was up all night doing my homework, and all hours. And even the other artists at the school, they were so good! There were people from LA and they had this cool street art, everyone had their own thing. It felt really powerful. I, of course, felt like a meek little lamb from the country, like I don't know how to do graffiti. I'd never seen graffiti. What, is someone gonna graffiti a tree? Someone carved their initials in one..."

'Silver Spell'

Candice chose the school, but didn't know how she'd react to southern California (Curanaj & Minoff, 2019): "At that time one of my goals was get as far away from home as possible. So, I was thinking east coast, for sure. I was thinking, Southern California? And, I was all goth so I wasn't really into the whole beach scene. Beach? Sunshine? I don't know, I don't need a tan right now."

'Long Valley', 2015

At the school she double majored in painting and sculpture (Curanaj & Minoff, 2019), ". . . which you would never know because you probably haven't seen a sculpture by me ever. . . . I'll definitely go back to sculpture some day, it'll be a big surprise. But, I love sculpture. There's something so aggravating about being a painter. You have this idea about what you want to create, and with the flick of a brush you can make it, or you can ruin something that was going somewhere. But, with sculpture you're physically creating with every single push of the clay, like, I physically made that. It exists! It's very satisfying. It's really relaxing. And, it's just like doing a thousand drawings every single time you look at the model. You're just drawing a contour over, and over, and over again in clay. So, it's super fun, and it's a good way to stress relief if you're a painter, because painting's so in your head."


"One of the reasons why I don't sculpt very much is I don't get a ton of live models. I mean, I'm not going to sit here and lie to you that I do everything from life. I work from photographs a lot. And getting live models to for a prolonged sculpture is really difficult, and it takes forever."


Candice met her future husband, the painter Julio Reyes, at LCAD. Candice explains (Curanaj & Minoff, 2019):

"We were friends in art school. A lot of how we got to know about each other, was, my roommates were all partiers and I was super intense about my work. And his roommates were all partiers, and he was super intense about his work. So, if the party was at my place, then we'd be doing homework at his house, and vice versa. Just in order to get some quiet time. . . . At first I wasn't into him, he was... so tan and so buff, and he was like this super athletic guy. I was a quiet, goth girl from the mountains, and here's this LA athlete who's been sunning all day at the beach and surfing the waves and stuff, and it was just a whole different world, and  I was like Nope. I'm not interested in that type of guy."

"Julio and I, we Eventually fell in love, got married, lived happily ever after. I think we were together thirteen years before we had kids. We were not going to have kids. We were just going to be artists, you know? We were super devoted to it and obsessed. And, it was unhealthy a lot of the time too. Just way too much pressure on ourselves to do this really important thing we thought we were doing. And I was very scared to be a mom because, I was like, that's it, if you do it, right, your life's over, as an artist. You just can't possibly be a painter and a parent. Everyone says so. I even talked to another artist and I was like, you gonna have kids? And he said, 'What, career killers? Hell no! That's the feeling in the art world. Don't have kids, enjoy your lives together.'

"We did that until the moment when we realized someone was missing. It just felt empty or lonely. Like, is this it? Is this what we're gonna do over and over again? Obsess about our own b.s. and make paintings that may or may not suck? Like, let's take this leap, which is a huge emotional leap, and so much rides on it, and it's so dangerous, and it's probably the hardest thing we've ever done. And let's just do it. . . . You don't know it'll be the best thing before you have it, you just see all the negatives. You see all the time you're gonna lose, and all the potential cost and worry. But, as soon as I had that little kid he changed my world."

Candice and Julio recently moved to Texas where they live with their two young children. One major set back Candice recently faced was a gallery fire, which destroyed five of her paintings - "It was a really intense time for me, I lost a lot of momentum. It was a tragic thing. That's months and months of work. I was just devastated, it's losing something so important to you. I can't even describe it."

'Catching Dreams'

Candice talks about life in California after they finished art school in this interview with John Dalton (Dancing on the Precipice Podcast, 2016):

"Another thing we both wanted was to make a living off our art, but we wanted to say something with our work, and we didn't just want to seek a commercial success. Because, in Laguna also there were lots of artists whose work was based primarily on commercial success. So, for instance, there was this artist that we dropped by his studio every now and again in the canyon, and he would do a three foot by four foot painting every half an hour. And, he had four or five or six or them just all lined up, and he'd just do a huge dash of blue across that one, blue across that one, blue across that one, and then he'd go through with the red, red, red. And, he would just assembly line 'em, and he would make so much money!

"And, there's another famous artist in Laguna called Wyland, and we saw him every now and again at the coffee shop auctioning off a sketch he did in 30 seconds, and he'd auction it off to the highest bidder. And he had a whole shtick there, where he was like "Five thousand! Five thousand for this drawing!" He just had, liked, whipped out a little whale sketch in two seconds. And, there's all these very wealthy people sittin there and they're kind of nervous. And they're kind of not saying anything,  not raising their hands. And he'd say, "For five thousand I'll buy it myself! And I'd make twice that, cuz it's worth it!" And then, of course, the first tentative hand goes up, 'I-I'll buy it, I'll pay five thousand for it.'

"Stuff like that happened all the time. It was kind of this unreality place, it's like Disneyland in real life. Just, the most bizarre things are happening all the time. So, we saw that, and we knew, Oh my God, that's a great way to make money as an artisan, but that's not what we think of as an artist. And, we were defiantly opposed to that, and we really wanted to make art that said something, or else why bother?

"So, that's why we made this plan, where we want to make our living off of our art eventually, but that kind of financial pressure is too much for anyone who's just twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three gettin' out of school. That's just too much of a burdon, because otherwise our rent's gonna be due, our cupboards are gonna be empty. We're gonna be hungry, and we're gonna say, 'Okay, well, what can I paint today that will sell?' And we didn't want that pressure on us at all. Because that's what we would do, that's what anyone would do if they really needed to make the rent money, if they really needed to buy food the next day. So we decided, ok, we'll get part-time jobs. And they have to be part-time, that's the only requirement. It could be anything in the world as long as it's part-time, so that most of our time we spend in the studio. And, that has to pay for our existance, so we lived really lean. We had a very tight budget. and we both worked our butts off on art and worked part time to pay for that."

'Bed of Gold'

Candice and Julio remark on the strange circumstance of being 'successful' as artists (Duncan, 2016):

“Our siblings, who all have homes and children - we don’t have any children, that’s one of the things we have not made time for yet, because we’ve been so strenuously pursuing our art. And, it’s really difficult to see everyone else around you just have solid jobs, and they’ve bought their homes and they’ve had their kids, and life is marching forward at a real regular, understandable pace for them. And, it doesn’t look the same for you as an artist. It’s like your measurement of success is…  it can’t be measured by the same things. And, not everyone’s gonna recognize that you’ve been successful in your field. It’s gonna look like you’re a loser to a lot of people. And to other people they’re gonna say, ‘Oh my god how did you ever manage? You’re amazing!’ And it’s just crazy. It’s like jumping from ice cold water to a sauna. We’ll be around family and other people, and we’re kind of like the ones who haven’t gotten our stuff together in their lives. And then we go to a conference and it’s like, ‘Oh man, put ‘em on stage!’ It’s the most bizarre thing you can imagine. It freaks me out.”

On her website, Candice explains what she paints and why:

"My paintings are labors of love, full of heart and intensity.  I endeavor to create works of substance and beauty, share tenderness and generosity towards my fellow man, and leave something behind that will serve others.  I strive to create objects of human value: serving to enrich this world, to connect the lonely, to console and revivify our wounded hearts and somnolent minds. I love to explore the rich connection between strangers, the long unbroken line of human endeavors and ideals, and the heroic heart within.  I am fascinated with symbols of great significance in seemingly mundane environments, the invisible yet perceptible quality of awareness, emotions, experiences, memories and expectations, the ethereal nature of the human soul and a searching for comfort and familiarity in the sublime unknown.

"It is my belief that art can help us to refocus our attentions on our most important beliefs, expand the scope of our compassion and understanding, and connect us with those who have walked a different path, in a different place.  I strive to capture a glimpse of the beauty, awe and wonder of this world before I leave it, and to share that with others."


Candice goes into more detail with this explanation (Curanaj & Minoff, 2019):

"Of course it has to resonate with me, it has to be deeply personal to me, but... I don't want to paint about my life or myself. I want to paint about the things that are so beautiful and so meaningful in this world and only last for seconds, and if you just blink you miss it. And, I just want to make sure that some of those things are captured in paint forever, and they last, you know, and that someone else can see it. You know, like this doesn't just disappear off the face of the Earth, like there it is forever. And, not just with a photograph but through another human soul, just through the filter of another being. Now it's there, from one being to another and you can feel it through art, and I think that's why art is powerful. It's not just a mechanical reproduction of it. Even a machine can do a mechanical reproduction  in 3D now, like really well, but you don't feel it. You don't get a sense of a person who's lived, loved, lost. Had all those experiences.

"You go into a museum today, and you look at... let's just bring back Rembrandt. You look at a Rembrandt painting, and you look into those eyes and you know that there's a human being who once lived and had a soul and lived their life and lost a child - a lot of children probably. Had a hard life. And you just feel the continuity of life and the continuity of humanity. And, even if that's one specific person or even one specific bouquet of flowers it doesn't matter, because it's tied in with your life, because you can feel it."


Candice works in both Oil and egg tempera, but she primarily loves drawing. She explains (Curanaj & Minoff, 2019):

"I think it's an unvarnished look at the artist's hand, and maybe the closest thing to the direct line of communication, straight from the wrist. There's no fluid that's going to mask it at all. You really feel the energy of their line, energy of the hand, and then, kind of, just more direct connection with the soul. Somehow you just see it in the drawings a lot easier - when you're an artist. If you're not an artist, you're like, "Hmm, I want color." Especially if you have a drawing sittin' next to a painting, you're like. There's no way someone's going to look at your drawing if they're not an artist."


Candice talks about influences (Curnaj & Minoff, 2019):

"For landscape, Inness, I love Inness, and for figurative work I like Kathe Kollwitz a lot. I love her work. And, Rembrandt, of course. I go back to him over and over again. I know it's like a cliche but it doesn't matter because he's just that good. I love Van Gogh. I'm always inspired by Van Gogh, not that you can ever see that in my paintings. But it doesn't matter, because that guy's art spirit was just incredible. And then, another one is Van Eyck, a little bit of the opposite of Van Gogh. Jan Van Eyck is just amazing, I sit there and scrutinize those things forever. And like, every single year that goes by I feel like I can see a different technique that I never noticed before. Like, I'm like how'd he do this? The mystery's amazing."

'Ascension', 2015

Candice talks a bit about her home and studio (Curanaj & Minoff, 2019):

"We don't share a single room, but we both have our studios in the house. We got this house that was on the market forever because nobody wanted this weird floorplan, which worked out perfectly for us, where there's these double doors that go off of the livingroom, and then there's just this one large room with high ceilings and a fan, and that leads off into another room with high ceilings and a fan. And everyone thinks, what the hell is this for? But, I'm like, double studios!

"The next time we buy a place we're just going to build it from scratch. We're going to build one of these things called a "barndaminium". It's literally one of those steel buildings, like a big ole steel barn. Just pour the freakin' concrete, build it any size you want, and then we'll just split it in half where we have a really cool loft-style house on one side, and, maybe, huge, roll-up doors, and there's our massive studio on the other side. . . . They don't exist very easily."


Candice talks about her most moving experiences as a painter (Dalton, 2016):

“I think there are many works that have been big journeys, but the two that were probably the hardest, most difficult emotional journeys to go through were one of my early works, known as ‘Dementia’. And, that is a painting of an elderly woman, and she’s standing in front of a landscape of cold orange-colored weeds and icy river, and there’s just no hint of humanity anywhere. It’s real barren and uninviting and very frightening. And, I painted that work after spending a year and a half with a woman who was losing her mind. And, I was hired originally to teach her art lessons by a very well meaning niece of hers who had the money and thought, you know, ‘Let’s give this a go. She’s suffering from Alzheimer’s, and perhaps activating her mind with new learning and art and creativity will keep my aunt here for a little longer.’

“ And it didn’t work, and it was just terrifying. At the same time I was losing my grandparents to the same illness.  And, I had already lost two other grandparents to the same illness. And, I have seen firsthand the whole horror of it over and over again. Like, my grandfather, when he got Alzheimer’s he turned into a very violent unhappy man.  And, everyone acts differently, but you’re watching someone disappear before your very eyes, and they’re frustrated, and they can’t tell you. And, you have no idea what’s happening, it’s just the most terrifying disease I can imagine. And, I wanted to paint something that spoke about that, that terrifying unknown, empty, lonely place, and just looked at it. And so, that painting took me probably over a year and a half to finish. And, it was just emotionally difficult the entire time, because I was dealing with, really, the loss of this woman who I knew, but also all these other really important people in my life who she represented for me.”


“And the second painting which was a journey like that was one named ‘Grace’. It’s a very large painting of a red-haired, young girl, and she’s leaning against a rock in the woods, and she’s got a little dog in her lap, and her feet are buried in the forest floor, and she’s all alone. And, that painting is about a girl I met who was dying of a really rare disease. She was blind, and her movements were awkward, and she was becoming mentally disabled day by day.  And, she had the most joyful and serene countenance, and she had so much grace that it was very inspiring, very moving. Unimaginably difficult to deal with for her family, but she seemed to have a way through it which helped everyone around her deal with it as well. And, that was a miracle to see that. And, it was so devastating as well. This is a girl who’ll never know her first kiss, you know? And she’s okay with it, and she’s not okay with it. 

"And, life is full of that, where you don’t have a choice other than the way you get through it, the way you view it and respond to it. Life will throw all sorts of things at you, and the only thing you can do is have a reaction to it. To say, ‘You know what? I’m going to do something beautiful with the time I have.’ Or, ‘I’m gonna be a wretched hater because this is unfair.’ And, sometimes the worst tragedies bring out the most beautiful expressions from people. And, she was someone who proved that to me, and if I ever had to go through an illness like that, I would just… To have an ounce of what she had in her grace and composure, as a young teenager, I just can’t imagine. That would be wonderful. So that was a very difficult painting as well. It took a really long time. The really emotional paintings usually take me a lot longer.”

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1. So, I’ve gathered little bits about your family and growing up, but I still don’t know the basic facts. So in the interest of presenting a biography, can you tell us who your parents were, and what jobs they had? I know they divorced, but did you still get to see your parents, growing up? Did you have any siblings or cousins or best friends, and was anyone in your life artistic, growing up? 

"I grew up in Northern California, a small town called Applegate in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.  We lived on 8 acres of pine forest, in a rural area where you can’t see your neighbors and a lot of people keep goats and horses and the like.  We were a couple of hours from the ocean, an hour to Lake Tahoe, and surrounded by tons of wilderness.  Mountain kids like me are big into hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.  I used to explore the woods by my house for hours, and would walk my familiar trails barefoot at times.

"Though there aren’t a lot of artists in the family, there is a creative streak on my mother’s side that is several generations deep expressed with music, writing and artistic craft.  We had a drawing by my great uncle hanging in our home, and a box of his ink wells and pen nibs held endless fascination for me. 
"My mother is a realtor, and often worked long hours out of the house.  My father is a backhoe operator who built and raced drag bikes on his spare time.  They divorced when I was 2.  It was devastating to my older sister and myself.  My father quickly remarried and moved an hour away with his new wife and step-child - after that, I would see him a few days a month.  My sister and I were close as children, but as we grew older and had our own friend groups, we spent less and less time together.  The house always felt empty, and I had a lot of time alone growing up.  I would wake myself up for school, make my breakfast, walk a mile or so to the bus stop, go to school, come home the same way, fix myself dinner, and put myself to bed sometimes without ever interacting with another person in my house.  Perhaps because of the way I grew up, I am very comfortable with silence, with being alone, and with independent activities.  I have always been shy and quiet, sometimes painfully so, and had a bit of a speech impediment when I was little.  It has taken many years to train myself to be more outgoing and overcome that shyness.  

"Drawing was my favorite pastime as a child and grew into a way to express myself in images where I could not or would not do so in words.  I loved spending hours alone drawing a tree or a pinecone, and especially during the more difficult years of my teens, it helped me through some overwhelming emotions."

'My Pleading Heart', 2015

2.  I understand why you left Leguna (those stories were amazing), but I’m not sure why or how you chose to live in Texas. Does Julio have any family there? Do you? Or, did you just happen to drive through and fall in love with it? Also, do you live in Dallas or Fort Worth?

"Julio and I lived in Northern California for around 7 years, and we enjoyed the time in a more rural setting.  We went for hikes with our dogs every day, took day trips to San Francisco and the northern coast, and visited our favorite paint makers at Natural Pigments regularly.  I had family nearby and we liked getting together with them.  

"There came a point when we began to rethink our decision not to have kids.  We had been together nearly 15 years and had achieved many of the career milestones we had sought, yet yearned for something more. It seemed there was a child shaped hole in our lives.  Having a child terrified me, and that decision was one of the bravest I have ever made.  Once we were sure that was what we wanted, we began orientating our lives towards that future.  We decided to move to Texas because most of Julio’s immediate family had relocated there, and the same money we were spending on rent every month could be used to pay down a mortgage on a nice house.   We wagered that our future child would have grandparents, aunts, uncles and lots of future cousins around the same age - That has all come true.  It was definitely a sacrifice to move away from the natural beauty of California, and I miss being close to my family, but living in Texas has been much nicer than I expected, and we are very happy here with our two young boys."

3.  What were some of the best lessons you learned from art school? Do you remember any quotes that come back in your mind while you paint or compose?

"One of the greatest classes I had in art school was 'Beginning Figure Painting' with a teacher named Cynthia Grilli.  From her I did not learn any great palettes, how to mix flesh tones, or how to turn a good form...  we didn’t study anatomy or look at casts...and my best works from that class look rather simple and unfinished.  What it lacked in all those things it made up for in moxy.  It was like a boot camp in the artist's spirit.  Grilli taught us how to be tough, how to persevere, how to focus on creating a painting, not a passage.  Grilli used to go around the room and randomly wipe out parts of our paintings or drawings, obliterating those passages that were becoming too important to change, and destroying some of the best work we had ever done at that early green stage of our art journeys.  It was devastating, some of the students couldn’t handle it, but she would tell us, “if you can draw it once, you can draw it twice”. Basically, trust yourself and do it again.  She didn’t care if it was the best nose you had ever painted, if it was in the wrong spot, it needed to go.  

"She taught us to squint down and paint the forms as broadly and accurately as we could, then move into more and more detail.  She taught us to load our palettes with paint, as if the cost didn’t matter, so that we wouldn’t  be timid to use it.  Through lessons like these, she taught us to be more resilient when things go wrong, to be less precious with individual passages or brush strokes, and to always be willing to change what is wrong.  That class was so powerful, it shaped my whole ethos as a painter.  Other teachers had incredible lessons too.  I remember distinctly one teacher describing how trying to beautifully render a figure with the proportion out of wack was like polishing the banister in a half built house.  Somehow that lesson got translated in my mind to “Never polish a turd“ 💩.  I make a lot of mistakes, I still don’t have a single great “flesh tone palette”, but I can fight through the hard knocks of a painting, and try not to waste too much time polishing a turd."

4. This is a hard question to ask, but I heard you lost five paintings in a gallery fire. I just have to know, which ones were they? And, were you compensated for this?

"I did... it was a fire that spread to the Richard J Demato Fine Art gallery from a neighboring coffee shop, and completely destroyed all the work I had there.    I lost “Long Valley”, “Fire Cloud”, “Catching Dreams”, “Vigil” and “Crown of Leaves “.  Fortunately the gallery was insured and I was reimbursed for half of the market value of the works."

5. What do you think of art education in the US today, especially K-12? What would you change if you could?

"I don’t know the exact curriculum kids are taught in K-12 today, but I can’t imagine it is great.  I think kids should be taught how to draw from life, and have an exuberant class on art history/appreciation.  Anyone who isn’t an artist says to me “I couldn’t even draw a stick figure”, and that always makes me sad.  I know that with a little basic training, they COULD learn to draw, and that tactile knowledge of art-making would contribute to a life-long appreciation for the craft, and for great works of art.  Kind of like how learning to play the piano (no matter how poorly), gives you a deeper understanding and appreciation for great musicians and composers."

'January Lemons'

6.  What artworks are you painting now?

"I am working on a few small private commissions, and starting to compose new works.  I am taking on a light work load this year as I am spending a lot of time with my 7 month old and toddler, but will be adding more shows to the calendar next year.  It is a very special time with the two boys, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world."

'Peonies with Flowering Vines'

6.  What artworks are you painting now?

"I am working on a few small private commissions, and starting to compose new works.  I am taking on a light work load this year as I am spending a lot of time with my 7 month old and toddler, but will be adding more shows to the calendar next year.  It is a very special time with the two boys, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world."

7.  If time and money were no issue, what would be your dream art project?

"I once had a vivid dream about Joan of Arc.  She was standing tall, a beacon in yellow and gold, and someday I will paint her just so.  I have always wanted to sculpt a larger than life sized crucifixion scene, possibly with all three crosses.  There are many large-scale paintings I would love to take on too - scenes exploring moments of great suffering and loss, and the resilience of the human spirit as they pick themselves back up again. I would like to explore the difficult theme of persecution. I want to create a memorial to all the unborn children and a celebration of life.  I have many painting ideas that just aren’t meant for the gallery market but feel important enough to devote years or decades to."

8. If you could own any one artwork, what would it be?

"Just one?!?  So difficult!  Tonight as I write this I would chose the Ghent altarpiece from Van Eyck.  A work of enduring power, beauty, meaning, humanity, spirit, and breadth." 

9. What qualities do you think make an artwork great?

"Soul, humanity, passion, truth, spirit, and the capacity for expression."

10.  Are there any post modern artists you love and appreciate?

"Post modern art is not my favorite genre, I think it has contributed to the degradation of art for a long time."

11.  What do you tell someone who thinks that art doesn’t matter?

"When I hear someone say art doesn’t matter I know they are wrong, but don’t know if it is worthwhile to try to convince them otherwise.  Sometimes it is easy, sometimes people need more convincing.  I am always reminded of a passage from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserable - There is a priest and a nun who devote themselves day and night to helping others. They utilize every item they have for good, including growing a garden to give food for the less fortunate.  The nun chastises the priest for wasting space in the garden for flowers when it could be used to grow even more food and he tells her: 'The beautiful is as useful as the useful.' He added after a moment’s silence, 'Perhaps more so.' I have always believed this too, and find most people have a sense of this truth in their lives, even if it takes a bit to remind them of it."