I have always been attracted to realist art and now especially with an influence from the impressionists I sometimes try to make a painting "pop" by tweaking colors and exaggerating tonal differences. An old brick wall or stretch of field accentuated with strong lights and darks will snap my senses to attention with a new found emotional connection to what was only mundane just before. I do enjoy oil painting in the studio but my pastels so easily lend themselves to the spontaneity and brilliance of plein air painting. It's almost as if I am sculpting a colorful representation of that nook of nature as it presents to me.
A particularly enjoyable type of painting for me is that of the portrait and the figure. I paint these from life or from high quality photos of the model. I usually try to paint the model in some setting that suggests a story that the viewer can create, if inclined. Portraits are probably the most difficult paintings to do. Errors are easily seen in proportions, drawing and values but not necessarily in colors if all else is right. For me the painting of the eyes is crucial and this is the portal into the personality of the pose.