Prisms, 18 x 36, oil on canvas, 2011

The lobby of the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian inspired this composite painting.

Painting in oil is my primary medium. Steve Jenkins taught me the classical technique of composing with a grisaille underpainting, then applying paint a la prima; this high-wire act rarely only achieves my original intention-but when it does, the result is magical. Marilyn Wanamaker and Pam Hassler have taught the more forgiving technique of layering glazes of pigment over an initial underpainting; this can produce an illusion of astonishing depth- and best of all, compensate for mistakes.

Acrylic is the medium I turn to when I feel like playing. Anne Bagby introduced me to the technique of mono-printing acrylic paint on paper. Recent workshops with Zoe Nadel have expanded my understanding of the rich and varied effects which painted papers can produce.