In 1986 I began painting for myself. Prior to that time, I had been working as an illustrator creating images for magazines, advertising and children’s books.
Feeling the need for a change, I signed up for a painting workshop in California. The studio sat on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The view was breathtaking and I thought I might simply paint the scenery. But as I stood there holding a paintbrush while facing a large piece of white paper, my hand began to move. I was totally amazed at what came out.
The workshop paintings were quite primitive in nature; first scribbles, then imaginary images drawn from a mix of dreams, childhood experiences and what I later came to realize were spiritual and subconscious icons. As I continued to paint, the pictures began to open a door, a means by which I could begin to understand my conscious experiences from a different perspective. They also pointed toward a path I would eventually follow months later through a time of deep personal loss.
The process of creating art saved me. It was and still is, years later, a visual integration of both my inner and outer experiences.
Most of my work begins without a specific result in mind; where shapes, colors and lines often resolve into recognizable images. I try not to judge them, as I see them as a window to the soul and am I grateful for their appearance. I enjoy working in different mediums, from totally spontaneous water-soluble crayons to meticulous colored pencil drawings of dreams, memories or present feelings.
My belief is that creating art can be a meditative practice much like music, poetry or dance and it has the ability to heal us if we open up to the possibilities within ourselves.
Over the years I’ve been fortunate to work with many wonderful students. My early teaching positions included The Art Institute of Boston (presently part of Lesley University) and The University of Hartford. For the past twelve years I’ve been on the faculty at Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson, Connecticut where I am presently Professor and Program Coordinator of Visual Arts.
The work on this website is dedicated to my mother, Leah Stein Gusman, who’s unexpected death in 1987 spurred me to look beneath the surface and to turn to my art for solace, comfort and ultimate healing.