I love to arrange things. I love to transform things. Using the flowers, fruit, and trees in my orchard in Mendocino County, I create compositions through photography. With my camera, taking thousands of photos, I refine my compositions until I find the perfect balance of lights and darks and shapes. From these many photos a small percentage become paintings. While the composition is usually finished before I start the painting and the values have already been chosen, I start all over again when I transfer the composition to paint. Recently I have become interested in creating composites of images from my photos in order to create a feeling of being in the orchard and not only looking at it. The combinations of infinite varieties of perspectives enhanced by multiple light sources that I experience in my half-acre orchard allow me and my audience the ability to find a deeper level of meditative consciousness.

Re-creating it in paint is much more of a challenge for me. I have many layers in my work as a result of the search for the exact value. This constant searching for the right shade or color makes a stronger statement and creates a richness that transcends the original photo. Struggling to get the values right gives my paintings more depth and makes my vision stronger. And, focusing so intensely on values, I let myself play more with the colors when I feel it will enhance the mood of a particular work.

Putting color and values together in paint, in the interpretation of my photographs, allows me to create a stronger, clearer, and more vibrant statement about the world as I experience it. These visual poems conduct a current through me; the jolt comes from the use of real life imagery, in real time, to create a timeless moment that could be a fantasy. Loving contrast, I want my work to be a moment in time yet last forever. I want them to be able to be grasped in a glance yet be so compelling that there is always something new to see.

Sonia Gill
May 2015