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.