I think the hardest part of being a painter is to stay relevant. Painting isn’t dead, but it certainly is not very important to many people. Television, movies, computers and the internet offer much more engrossing products that move, change and are coupled with sound and other stimuli, while paintings offer a static image with an unchanging perspective. It clearly is not an even competition. Unfortunately for me, my talents and skills are a painter’s. Fortunately for me, much of what’s out there in modern media is vacant, without much value.
The purpose of each piece is varied. Some are very much about the play of two and three dimensions, where as others are more about the imagery. Some of my work is reflective of my influences such as my mother’s quilts or needlepoint or the many artists I’ve studied. All of my work is a reflection of a lifelong passion for what I’m doing and what I like to see.
My paintings are as much sculpture as they are flat imagery. I start off by constructing a form from plywood that I have warped and shaped. Plywood offers more structure and is more malleable than canvas. Acrylic paints aren’t just colorful, but have physical properties such as plasticity and volume. I use these properties to build up structure in space. I glue things onto the panels. I extrude paint onto the plywood construction much like caulk out of a caulk gun. I use knives to apply modeling paste. I build up the surface through many layers using gallons of paint until the surface is thick, rich and highly varied. Sometimes I carve into it. The end result is a heavy, rich surface that resembles vines, tree bark, woven fabric, rock or other surfaces. Texture and surface as well as a shape to the “canvas” lend sculptural qualities to my paintings. It becomes difficult to separate what is two dimensional from what is sculptural.
I spend a good bit of my time trying to find an image, but it’s not so much what I paint, more how I paint it. Painting for me is not an attempt to document the world as it appears but an opportunity for me to recreate the world. I’m not a reporter, I’m a poet. I prefer landscapes that have no human figures in them. The empty landscape encourages the viewer to place themselves metaphorically into the painting. I’m also drawn to quiet moments. Paintings struggle to convey motion, but excel at stillness
Finally, I like to make beautiful objects. A lifetime of drawing, painting and making objects has instilled in me an appreciation for elegant design. The many years I spent in manufacturing industries also helped me to develop this appreciation. An “elegant” design is one that not only solves all the problems that need solving, but does so with style and beauty.
I am always looking for the profound.