One of my favorite ways to compose is from a high vantage point, like from a bridge, a third floor balcony, or as in Crescent Path, from atop a dune. In addition to this, and the juxtaposition of the beach houses, what gave this scene life is the strong swooshing shape of a crescent formed by the path. It is this dynamic, the emphasis on motion, that I’m naturally drawn to.Continue reading
This is a view of East Main Street area next to the original Highway 17 bridge in Washington. Standing at the apex of a bridge gives a good vantage point. It was a cold day and the light was clear and bright. The light was warm too, making the white hulls look very yellow; I think that was my initial objective—to paint those yellow boat hulls, but the architecture too. The overall feel of the scene was interesting. There was a sparkle to it all—the light on the buildings seemed to ripple like the water itself. Even the way those bright, spindly masts cut through the sky contrasted interestingly with the far church steeple.
I’ve painted two versions of this scene so far; I’m trying to get the hulls satisfyingly bright. I can see taking a Fauvist’s approach and using pure, unadulterated color to interpret them.
I have to sometimes put forth effort to not be overly dark or dramatic because that is my natural tendency it seems. These boats that are part of my ‘Skiff’ series can be seen to represent various aspects of life, some specific to me, others more general. And it’s not difficult for them to appear as metaphors for the more sober journeys we take.Continue reading
Art is mystery, and so is the sea. That’s how I see it, feel it. When I look at the ocean waves there is a fear, an awe inspiring type fear; I know the depths and power of the wave, that it could swallow me up without thought or care and I vanish forever. And there is art. My art specifically. It is a mystery no matter how long I’ve been doing it. What comes out onto canvas is much more than the sum of it’s parts–it is as profound as a wave is powerful.
I paint the water because it is the great mystery. It is the monster that haunts my mind and I tame it, at least there, when I paint it on canvas. I feel the power in each movement of the brush. The strokes are as if blown by the wind itself. That’s what it takes to paint convincingly–you must feel it. Command of the elements of art are only the beginning of being an artist. Depth of feeling is the unteachable thing. It comes as an ache in my muscles that guide my brush, and fulfill my motive.
You can’t think about how to feel. You just feel it. I think about the elements sometimes–this shape, this value or color, relationships in the composition–but I don’t think about how to feel. I react to my feeling.
Painting water is the closest thing I can think of to painting God, more so than any other motif. That is the goal isn’t it, with art, to find ultimate meaning and purpose.
I was taking a video course in art school and I made a “short”, about 3 minutes I think, which consisted of an old house on lifts, about to be moved. I come back to this theme quite a bit. Even when I paint a condo on the beach, like in The Soft Side of Paradise, there is more than material to these works, I’ve discovered. It’s a feeling I have, of brooding maybe, I’m not sure exactly how to say it.
I think about Wyeth’s painting Trodden Weed, how his imagery was more than subject–it was psychological. My architecture is a reflection of something much deeper than mere brick and stone, wood and vinyl.
I try to figure out what I’m really after once I finish a piece. It’s not something I think about beforehand. I want the imagery to come forth naturally, without effort, and with it comes everything that I am. In my artist’s statement I say it also…
“I respond to a feeling that grows out of my response to the light, colors, contrasts–by all that is experienced of a scene. My subjects, and how I present them, reflect inner conditions. I choose them because of how they make me feel; it is not a cognitive process.”