Artist Statement

I am a storyteller. My paintings tell stories, mostly about people--people I know, might have noticed and want to think more about, or they are imaginary people I think would be fun and interesting to know.  


A gesture, a look--what does it tell about the inner life?  My painted subjects are not me, but the emotions reflect mine.  It has to work this way.  My painted characters come from someone I wanted to think more about.  


My paintings are about somewhere, too.  A place reveals so much.  Something important to me happens here.  How does this place contribute to the story?  


People all over the world inspire me.  From my backyard in Bedford, Indiana, in the 1950's to China today, I see commonality in people through their actions.  I am interested in the gestures and expressions in private moments of thought, the inside moments.  Do you see a story, too?  


Multiple layers of paint placed on the canvas abstractly provide the starting place for my visual story.  I frequently let the shapes from the layers below figure into the narrative. Gestures, body language, place, form and color are all important.  Real people are examined, real places are recalled, but the story is not real.  I don't preplan my compositions.  I don't make studies.  The composition has to tell the story, and the figure (character) is the focus of the canvas.  Distancing myself from the work to see it again with fresh eyes over time is one of my tools.  


When I consider the artists I am drawn to, I see why my style or technique has evolved as it has.  Henri Mattise is inspiring to me for his composition, drawing style rich use of color and creative use of perspetive; Richard Diebenorn points the way for a looser drawing style and use of space and Francisco Goys's drawings and paintings provide important examples of emotional and intellectual content.


I believe that people the world over long for the same basic things.  I am a communicator, an interpreter of of observed lives.  I try to create the universal when I paint the individual.  

                                                                                                                                                                            ----Julia Zollman Wickes










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