Everything I make begins with a visual experience - something I see in my surroundings. My sources are most often close by, sometimes in my garden or just down the road. I go for daily walks near my house. I travel to special places farther from home to collect images, returning to the same spots again and again, year after year.
I grew up in a rural place surrounded by farms, animals and wildness. There was plenty of everyday mystery and magic in my childhood. Nature communicated with me. We carried on a lively interaction. I learned to look closely because there was hidden treasure all around me. I just had to follow the signs.
I'm still out there looking for clues in the landscape. My process of discovery is perhaps a bit more sophisticated now, but it's essentially the same thing that engaged me as a kid. I walk around and carefully observe, I take photographs and then try to translate what I've seen and experienced into art.
I latch onto small details in the environment - tree roots, weird rocks, sparkling puddles, reflections, odd shadows and especially sticks. Sticks are always trying to tell me something. These ephemeral specks in the landscape become my tiny landmarks. I get attached to them. I visit them often and watch them change through the seasons. They disappear far more quickly than I want them to and I'm always sad to see them go. So I take lots of photographs to help me remember and save small moments in time.
I use my photos as visual references for printmaking, but I don't transfer the photo to the plate or use any sort of photographic process in the plate making. Everything is hand drawn. I've found this to be very important. I usually mask out a small piece of a snapshot to look at, just a fragment, then prop it on my table and draw directly onto a prepared copper plate. This informal way of working allows me room to invent the image as I go, and to infuse it with emotion and remembered experience.