These images are largely about my response to the geography and flora of where I am painting, maybe some history, too. In that sense, the paintings may say more about my state of mind at the time than the details depicted in the final view. Most of these images are of real places, at least my version of these places. For me, certain ideas are better understood using visual language. With color, shape, value and surface texture, landscape images can clarify natural relationships. There are moments and scenes that pass so quickly, we hardly are conscious of them, yet they may shape the lasting memory we take away from a place or experience; these often become the motifs in my paintings. A moment in time or a color, a particular shadow pattern, hue of the sky, texture in the foliage, reflections on a body of water, dissolving clouds or some other small part of the landscape may be the main idea for the final depiction. Most of the images that I think are successful have been ideas I have been contemplating for weeks or months.

I particularly enjoy the challenges of painting outdoors, en plein air, where bugs, weather and details bombard you. Few artists are willing to tolerate the conditions. But untouched remnants of terrain are fading. For me certain ideas are more clearly stated without words. The challenge is to capture a sense of place, time and emotion with an image.

Since time and changing conditions preclude painting everything in front of your eyes. Leaving certain things out of the painting is equally, if not more important than what is included. I am attracted to untouched landscape remnants and atmospheric drama, especially the mood of shadows near dusk or early morning. In some ways my paintings are visual meditations on the motifs I’ve chosen. I lose track of time when I am out there watching the shadows move and the colors change, just ask my very patient wife. “ I’ll be back by 1 o’clock” often means getting home by dark.

Studio painting, on the other hand, offers a different set of challenges that are no less daunting. I rely on field studies, memory, pencil or charcoal sketches and some photos, though the latter often contain much confusing and misleading information.

Largely self-taught, I am fortunate to have such encouraging family and friends. As luck would have it, I live near several artists of national stature who have been very generous with their time and wisdom.

Why Landscapes?

These paintings are graphic memories of locations I visited at some past moment. Most depict real places and how being there felt to me. Texture or shadows, maybe a shape, a color, possibly reflected light are the starting points for images. Since I usually begin in the field, en plein air, the challenge is to quickly create a credible image…. something to use as visual notes from which I can work in the comfort of a stable environment, relatively bug-less, free from wind, blowing sand and debris falling out of trees where I don’t have to worry about snakes, alligators or other perturbed denizens of the wetlands and generally wild terrain where I usually start these things. While a photograph captures a lot, sometimes too much, a painter must be selective, retaining certain features, omitting some and rearranging the rest; these steps are necessary in creating the final image.

Forever a student, my approach to painting today is different than it was just a couple of years ago; I think that trend will continue. What hasn’t changed is the wonder I experience any time I get to hang around watching the shadows move, even if only for a few hours