A pentimento is an underlying image or alteration in a painting that shows through, usually when the top layer of paint has become transparent with age. The traces of previous work show that the artist has changed his mind as to the composition during the process of painting. The word derives from the Italian pentirsi meaning to repent. Some pentimenti have always been visible on the final painting with careful inspection; others are revealed by the increasing translucency that some paint acquires after several centuries. The term has also been used in a modern sense to describe the appearance of the sides of buildings with painted advertising. Typically, they are painted over with newer advertisements and the paint gradually wears away to reveal the older layers. These layers are suggestive; they tell the story of a memory, a period or a place. I am awed by how things age—the way a surface gains its unique patina, influenced by environmental erosion, handling and the passage of time.
My work combines my life–long affinity for paper with a love of the texture and sensuous nature of beeswax. I begin by monotyping or painting on paper, sometimes thin sumi paper, sometimes maps and architectural blueprints, and sometimes tattered correspondence and ledgers from the early 1900s that have turned brittle and amber–colored with age.
My work is my way of reconstructing the past—filtering and fragmenting hand painted papers—to gradually build up layers that capture a snapshot of history, invoking a precise, specific moment in time. The manipulation of the paper and wax allows me vicarious participation in its history. I often monotype or paint on both sides of a single sheet of paper so that when the molten wax impregnates the paper, the pulp becomes translucent and multiple images arise. The final step of fusing paper and wax transforms these disparate images and materials together into a harmonious composition which seeks to be greater than the sum of its parts.