I started painting in 1995 after years of looking at and thinking about paintings, but never really thinking about being a painter myself. Somehow I signed up for an oil painting class, and the first session was three hours long in an un-air-conditioned studio with temps over 100 degrees. By the end of the three hours, I was hooked. I continued to paint in that classroom studio for a few years, then rented space with another artist and have had a studio in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood since 2005. My current work, both oil on canvas and mixed media on paper, is influenced by time spent in Italy—the look and feel of the place, the language, the food, the wine and the people who grow it. Images and juxtapositions come from a word or phrase that I can’t get out of my head, from objects that catch my eye and won’t let go. I’m endlessly fascinated by the way the world flattens out and reshapes itself on the canvas, the way light and dark play tag, the figures that somehow take form on their own and finally decide to stay still.