I discovered art as a teenager in an otherwise very dry social studies textbook where a reproduction of Van Gogh’s Starry Night changed my world. I started going to libraries and bookstores and poring over art books. It was a rich time for me. I was drawn to the expressionists and abstract artists most of all. I started with Picasso and Matisse and I fell in love with the Fauvists and the German/Austrian Expressionists. I loved Chagall for his colors and Schiele for his delicate lines. Later I saw paintings by Kline, Rothko, Motherwell, Miro, Kandinsky, Malevich and Basquiat and was enthralled. I think you can see these influences in my paintings. When I went to college, UC Berkeley and Columbia, I studied Comparative Literature, but I managed to take a few art classes too. I taught literature at UC Berkeley but eventually changed careers to become a psychologist. I am currently a psychologist in private practice. Through it all my passion for art grew, but as an observer. --Until I saw the New Yorker cover by Gorge Colombo done on his iPhone in 2009. Five minutes and five dollars later (for the Brushes app) I began my second career as a painter, first on my iPhone and now on my iPad. I was 68 years old when I started painting seriously. On my 70th birthday I got a call from Apple asking me to show my paintings in their Flagship store in San Francisco. They said that “my work was cutting edge”. Can’t think of a better 70th birthday present. I’ve painted 4500+ works in the seven or so years since that day in 2009.
Each new technology in art changes the nature of art itself. The use of canvas and oil paints allowed art to become more portable; artists could paint in their studios and middle class patrons could hang paintings in their homes. The subject matter became more domestic. In the nineteenth century, prepared oil paints in tubes and foldable easels allowed artists to paint outside and glory in the changing light, but it also required that they paint quickly to capture the immediacy of light.
The iPad has only been around since 2010, but it has the capacity to revolutionize the creation and dissemination of art. Now everyone can paint without a studio or expensive materials. Artists like Gorge Colombo can paint outdoors at night. David Hockney can create enormous paintings that fill entire museums or tiny iPhone paintings that replay his act of painting. However, they are still using the iPad to create work that mimics traditional media; their works look like their earlier works in pastel, oils and watercolors. We haven't yet plumbed the possibilities of this new medium. It is incredibly exciting to be among the first to explore a brand new art medium and be able to define and refine this new form. Each of my paintings is an exploration of the possibilities and surprise discoveries of what is possible on my magic screen. The iPad is so versatile and responsive that I find myself experimenting with ideas from other periods and cultures and genres; I can play with gold leaf as it was used in Medieval altarpieces, Persian miniatures, Klimt paintings or Japanese prints. I can turn my paintings into collages of themselves, mix oil and water (colors), and a raft of other techniques that have not been possible before. Being a painter has opened a much deeper relationship with painters throughout history. It’s a way to deepen my understanding of what Hockney, Kandinsky or Picasso were thinking while they were painting. It’s like playing music: you can understand Bach by listening, but playing the music yourself opens a dialog with the composer.
I used to be a musician, and finding the iPad was like finally getting my perfect instrument. My works reflect the influence of Bach or Beethoven or whomever I am listening to at the time; they have musical themes and variations expressed in light and color. When everything goes well, my paintings are a visualization of what I hear and see- and my life is in perfect harmony.