Statement

My work is about place. Place can be a specific location, such as a national park or a particular seashore, or it can be a grouping of places which feature the same or similar land forms, flora and fauna, like tall-grass prairies or wetlands.

The places I choose to paint are primarily natural landscapes untrammeled by man. These are most often regional and national parks and preserves that have been set aside to protect their unique natural beauty, flora and fauna. I find these places in hikes to Natural Areas around my community and in extended trips around the country.

When I choose a place to paint, I focus most often on the land itself, but I may sometimes include the interiors of historic structures in these places because they tell a story of human presence in the land in a way that enriches both my experience and my portrayal of the place.

What I look for, what excites me about the places I choose to paint are, first, the rhythms I see in landforms: dynamic curves as a road or river reaches into the distance; patterns of light and dark as the sun moves over the contours of the land; and the contrasts of colors in sky and earth — blues, yellows, reds and greens playing off each other like jewels in a kaleidoscope.

To bring the viewer into a landscape or interior, I use the compositional device of a visual pathway, a trail, a road, a river or creek, a railroad track or simply a break in the foreground that leads one back into space. This is a signature feature of my work, and finding and creating visual pathways is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the creative process. It seems to recreate the experience of actually going into the place I’m painting and reliving the wonderful experience of seeing it and immersing myself in it for the first time.

When I paint interiors I get excited about similar elements, pathways of sunlight that lead the viewer into a room, dynamic patterns of light and dark playing over walls and floors, and the shapes of simple furnishings, such as an empty chair, that suggest the long-gone human presence.

To record my experience I create sketches and take photographs on site. These resources become the basis for expressing my response to place when I’m back in the studio. I start with drawings, small composition and value studies in my sketchbook and then transfer the esseence of the sketch onto paper or panel using one or more of my preferred media, watercolor, gouache (opaque watercolor), ink and colored pencil. The results are two-dimensional paintings and three-dimensional accordian-fold paper constructions that express as best I can the love I have for special natural places.