I prefer to paint in the winter because the light is just so much better. In Washington, in the summer, we have all that haze and smog. And I really don't like to paint green leaves. It's kind of boring. Green, green, green, green, green. When it's winter and the trees are bare you can really see Washington. The architecture of the trees supports the architecture of the buildings. I leave out cranes, the dirt, the pigeons and the wires. The Supreme Court has all these little rods all along the frieze so the pigeons won't sit on it. I leave them out. My husband says I play God. But I don't. I don't move buildings around. I think my goal, my role as an artist, is to show people things they haven't seen.
I painted the Old Post Office tower before it was ever restored, and people would always ask, "Oh, where is that?" It's right there! People don't notice the beauty of what's right in front of them.
I suffered when we first came down here and I was dumped in Triangle, Virginia. There isn't really much to paint in Triangle, Virginia, especially in the summer. I finally found a barn. I stood there on the side of that road and painted that barn, and every Marine on his way to Quantico would stop and see what I was doing.
Rain is the enemy. I'm a sunny-day person. Landscapes don't need the sun so much -- Monet used to go back to bed when it was sunny because flowers painted better when it was overcast. But buildings need the shadow and the light. I've sat and sat at the Supreme Court just waiting for the sun to shine on the words "EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW." I can't fake it. Shadows have a distinct perspective, just like a building. I'm sure there are artists who can draw the lines of the perspective, but I prefer to just wait until the sun comes.
-- Interview by Amanda Temple