Natural Beauty: The Los Angeles Paintings
In my work I see memories of places I have been. My paintings are a direct response to the world around me.
The "Natural Beauty" series is based on my experiences and observations since I moved to Los Angeles in 2009. When I first moved to L.A., I was struck by the apparent disconnection between the man-made cityscape and the native natural environment, a subtropical desert. So much of the "natural" landscape has been changed that little of it remains in the city.
I found myself questioning what is natural. If an environment has been changed for so long, does the new environment become "natural"? And also—what is "beauty"?
I am reflecting on these questions through the imagery of my paintings. Soft skies are contrasted with geometric flat planes of color. Telephone poles compete with palm trees in the skylines. Crimson sunsets are reflected in the city lights below. The organic shapes of the hills and mountains provide a backdrop for our inorganic, geometric architecture. Silhouettes of trees and vegetation vie for attention with construction cranes, lifeguard stations, and the urban environment.
These stark contrasts are reflected in my artistic techniques. Skies and landscapes are built up with thin layers of color through glazing, a technique as old as oil paint itself, creating an optically blended color that would be impossible to mix on the palette. This contrasts with elements of architecture and planes of color, which are composed of a solid, mixed color with no variation. Throughout my work, the rich colors of the unique light in Los Angeles remains a priority, and much time is spent mixing paint.
The "natural beauty" in Los Angeles is hard, at times, to define, but it exists nonetheless. Painting the contrast between the natural and the unnatural elements of Los Angeles helps me to understand how both are essential to the composition of its beauty.