‘When people look at a drawing or painting and they’re overwhelmed, you think: How can art be so powerful?’
“I’ve been an artist for over 20 years. My first influence was my kindergarten teacher. She was so enthused about art. It’s a shame because sometimes all the art and music programs are off to the wayside; those are the programs that are cut. My art teacher in high school taught us how to draw upside down. Upside down drawing is drawing from the right side of your brain to make your brain slow down.
“When people give me a reference photo of their face, I have it next to me and I put it upside down and draw the preliminary lines from the right side of my brain. When I’m almost done with it, I bring it right side up and I look at the shapes and the shadings, but the bulk of the time it’s upside down. The past few years, I draw faces merged together, like a person from 50 years ago and now. I merge the two faces and see how they changed: it’s the same eye, it’s the same nose, but it’s 50 years difference. I drew my grandmother’s cousin, Sister Teresa; I decided to show her journey from her college days to when she became a nun. She is now up for sainthood.
My favorite thing to draw is the most difficult thing: faces.
“I also drew one of Billy Joel’s band members who lives on Long Island, Mike DelGuidice. I drew his face merged with Billy Joel’s face and Mike loved it. My mom is elderly with a fake hip and I’m doing more for her these days. So now I do my drawing at night. I lock my door for a few hours. I don’t have a formal studio; people always ask me and I’m like, ‘No, it’s on the floor in my room!’ During the day when I’m running around, I have something to look forward to. I’m thinking, ‘How am I going to get through this?’ But then when I focus on the picture, I completely forget what happened during the day.
“My favorite thing to draw is the most difficult thing: faces. It’s not like you’re doing a landscape and a tree is out of place; so what? A face has to be accurate. It’s funny when people tell me, ‘Oh, that’s not me,’ and I’m like, ‘Yes, it is!’ When people look at a drawing or painting and they’re overwhelmed, you think: How can art be so powerful? It’s only lines. It’s only shapes. But it’s what people see. It’s what speaks to them.”