The people who enter my studio and who are represented in my work are not models. They are everyday people who exchange their time for a painting or who simply want the experience of sitting for an artist. I encourage my sitters to create their own poses and consider what they want to communicate about themselves; what ends up on the canvas is a conversation between me, the sitter and the spectator. Mine is a humanist practice based on the observation of my environment, the surroundings of my studio and the people who come into it. Beyond the four walls of this intimate environment, my paintings engage the spectator, often anticipating the presence ofand making a space for--an observer. Since we only really know who we are by virtue of how we relate to others, this is how I come to understand my own reality - the reality of how I exist within the environment that includes other people and the physical world. My work therefore demands the most honest and, quite literally, naked approach. I am a representational painter, and I am forced to balance an obvious contradiction between the representation of the physical world and the reality of the materials I use. Consequently, I allow the paint to articulate itself within the representation. It does not try to disguise itself; rather, it acts as itself and has empathy for the subject.