35-12 Forest Light
LANDSCAPES My landscapes are a combination of observation, imagination and “memory fragments”, bits and pieces of sights, sounds, smells and feelings remembered from childhood, a myriad of lasting impressions now translated, alla prima, into paint on a surface. I recall summer trips, bracketed with endless, fluid roadside montages. Fields and farmland, forests and sky, melting into ribbons of color and texture, as we passed, on our way to anywhere in Michigan. I remember forest treks into magnificent cathedrals of nature’s stillness, trees so tall they gobbled up the sky, allowing only occasional shafts of sunlight to pierce their canopy and create altars on the forest floor, while patches of light lay strewn like gold coins, creating paths that beckoned you to venture deeper into the woods. There were cottage vacations spent lakeside where we ended every day huddled in wool blankets on a shore or dock, into late in the evening, breathing in the cool summer dampness, while the night sky put on a show of light and stars. The shared darkness seemed sacred and comforting and the vast blackness of the lake was made “safe” by the glow from the cottage lights and campfires of other vacationers. These are just some of the remembered impressions repeatedly encoded in so many of my landscapes. FIGURATIVE My figurative work usually starts with people and faces that persist in my mind until I can get them onto canvas. Although my paintings are often inspired by a face or faces that I’ve seen, they are not about “portraiture” but about the more universal story that evolves once I’ve placed the “inspiration face” onto canvas. Once on canvas, I am free, to become engaged by the next face and evolving story . . . and the cycle repeats itself. For me, the "story" lies in hands and faces, in gestures and expressions. The body is merely a rack on which to hang the face and hands, an often flat area meant to define the spatial relationships in the picture, or to "pop" the rendered areas, or to reinforce the "story" told by the hands and face. My people are introspective, full of a thousand details of their lives and yet, they are often confrontational, but without being threatening or arrogant. They look back at the viewer as though they are the ones looking at a canvas. They are vulnerable, approachable and yet strong and resilient, brimming with secrets, hopes and fears – just like the rest of us.