My current series, Separate / Together, is comprised of paintings and drawings of family members at various stages of life. Most of my family is separated from me by distance, so my latest work was created from photographs I took during times spent together. I explore how to best portray someone in a moment frozen in time, drawing on the memory of that particular moment, other shared experiences, and insight into the subject’s personality to infuse the work with emotion and life. Appreciating classical traditions and subject matter, I ground my work in observable reality while enjoying the freedom to make changes or enhance each image as I choose. In most of my portraits, I unashamedly embrace nostalgia in memories and the sentiment found within all caring families for each other. I believe that beauty in art can be a respite from the challenges and fast pace of modern life, so I choose to create images with dramatic ranges in light, vibrant colors and textural patterns that celebrate simple pleasures and quiet moments. I invite others to discover common ground between the people in the portraits and themselves, and for the paintings to act as “a soothing, calming influence on the mind, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue,” as Matisse dreamt for his art, and as I seek in mine.