Artist Statement


I believe all human beings have an inborn curiosity and spiritual connection to our atmosphere. The sky plays into our collective unconscious and cultural myths, and a weather event can dramatically interfere in our lives and even manipulate history. I draw upon my personal wonderment and reverence for this force that can fill me with abandoned happiness on azure blue, sunny days or a sullen morose gloom on gray mid-winter ones. I am captivated upon hearing about a UFO sighting, a possible new planet discovery, or simply dazzled gazing up at a clear night filled with constellations.

My paintings focus on the exquisite changes that happen in the sky through the daily progression of time, weather occurrences and seasonal shifts. Whether I’m walking in a field, driving down a road, or hiking in the mountains, here is a moment that I become aware of the colors and light of the astounding view in front of me. I am acutely in tune, sometimes terrifyingly so, of the visual purity that exists only to be captured in a quick sketch, photo or my memory. That vision is there, exists for whatever elusive amount of time and then is gone.

I usually paint the representational watercolors first which then function as preparation for the abstracted pieces. The abstractions are painted in a process oriented manner, with no working sketch, painting, or photo in front of me. I respond only to the pigment and surface cues that are forming at a heightened level. Whether I work in an abstract or realistic style, the actual focus and “object” of the painting is the layering and transformation of light and color.

In my historic research I’ve studied the painters J.W. Turner (1775-1851) and Mark Rothko (1903-1970). Although these artists worked a century apart, it is astounding to me the similarities of their passion in evoking in their paintings the pure properties of air, color and spirituality.

I have had a life long fascination with the sky. When I was five I attended a Byzantine church with my family. The services were long and chanted completely in an ancient monotonous Old Slavonic language. I was small, overdressed, overheated and, although quite conscious of its importance, totally unaware of what was being said. To pass the time I would lean sleepily on my father’s shoulder and look up at the cavernous ceiling. God at various ages and spiritual stages, surrounded by stern and pious saints, filled every square inch of the dome and nave. Tiny cherubs and “putties” charmingly peered from behind voluptuous billowy clouds while various solar system forms sparkled and reflected the unmitigated power which was manifesting. All this visual symbolism served to reinforce my awareness that indeed something special is happening up there. There are events taking place that I have no control of but which profoundly affect my existence. The images in the cathedral were a religious expression, and astronomy and meteorology are the scientific explorations, but all you really have to do is look up and even as a child, it called to me. I had to find out more and to this day I keep looking.

I received my Bachelors in Art from Mundelein College of Loyola University where I had the privilege of studying art history with Frank Vodvarka and drawing with Pat Hernes. I have also studied painting with Alain Gavin in Evanston and Helen Oh at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and figure drawing with Jason Miklik at the North Shore Art League in Winnetka. Over the past 20 years I have been a docent at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University and now am a docent in training in the education department of the Art Institute of Chicago. But of course, my fascination with the heavens? It all really started with my Ukrainian mother taking me, as soon as I could walk, downtown to the art museums, and during all those hours spent at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church on south Paulina Street in Chicago.