Upon entering college in 1998, I had never even considered abstract painting. My background was traditional figure drawing, so to be stripped of a reference, object or narrative felt like singing A cappella. There was nothing to fall back on, just my voice. And so, I decided if I was going to make an abstract painting ( that would pass Herb Jackson's critique) I wouldn't be shy about it. With all the energy I could muster, I charged the canvas with palette knives in great sweeping motions... I looked. I built up the bones of the composition with thick paint and brushes...I looked some more. I mixed thin glazes of color and carefully selected areas to wash over with old rags...and after much looking it was undeniable that I had made a huge mess. So, I set out to clean it up. Today, my approach is exactly the same as it was when I made my first abstract painting in 2001. Luckily, Herb Jackson was my mentor and had great advice on how to clean up messy paintings.