Saturday, May 19, 2018

Rediscovering Subject Matter with a Mature Eye

On the wall of my studio are two paintings of waterfalls from the Cascades in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It's a series of paintings from a very special time in my life, I had just gotten married and enjoyed an idyllic honeymoon in New England.

It's in the Cascades where I became obsessed with waterfalls. The sounds, the colors and the depth and clarity of water, they became a common theme in my paintings. When we are younger we see through eyes untainted by expectations or attempts to suit style or current trend.

Since the original series there have been several that I believe now became more expressionistic which is fine but I believe I left something crucial out of the mix.

It is always an artists job to decide what to leave in and what to leave out. What is too realistic or to abstract and what feeling is intended for the viewer: all go into the final product of creating something from nature.

Today I went to the Park Hill Prairie. I wanted to study the pristine water and get back to the basics of how water interacts with its surroundings, weather and its angle from the viewer.

I redefined what it is about water that I love and aim to share with the viewer is the intangible coldness one can imagine, the depths and mystery of its many layers and the simplicity of the mirror.

Just like creating a rose with droplets of dew-the final realistic image is much more simple than one would first think. It's the simplicity of the rendering that keeps the viewers eyes imagining the depth and the feeling of the surface.

I am excite about getting back to the canvas and reinvigorating my passion for nature and the intricacies of water. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Subject Matter: The Emotion beneath the Layers of Paint (part 2 of 4)

I am more focused on the atmosphere of my paintings rather than a specific place. Although many paintings are from real places, my intent is to convey how it feels to be there, the feeling of cold breeze or dark shadow.

I like the tension between figures and the tension between the painting and the viewer. Some of my paintings have been described as otherworldly, a feeling like something is just not quite right.

I am haunted by nature and the mystery that exists, the silence in the evening or the quiet before a storm. I believe if an artist can make a viewer feel an emotion when looking at a painting, it's the difference between creating an attractive painting or an emotional tool.

There is an intangible and often cryptic voice in every painting I create. It is how the act of painting can touch the viewer, make them feel something that is more than the surface of a canvas.

I want the viewer to come away from my painting with a feeling they're not quite sure of, or a memory they can connect with. I want the viewer to make their own experience of my work.

For more artwork see
Next Subject Matter: The Night Sky

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Why I Paint and What is My Intention in Painting?: The Simple yet Complex Act of Creativity

Why Paint? A Simple Question with so Many Answers: The simplest answer is the intense joy of creating something from nothing. Imagine a place that you see in a dream, it's beautiful, you don't want to leave but you wake up and it's gone; painting allows the artist to capture that place and when it becomes real there is nothing like the feeling.

Another feeling is when there is no specific, concrete image but instead a feeling or an idea that you have that becomes a form, something you can choose to explain or leave as its own voice. There is an absence of any stresses and distractions and the mind and body find a sync that I've never found doing anything else.

What would you like the viewer to see or experience?: The Many Goals of Creating: The pure enjoyment of being creative is tempered with the discipline of getting it right. The ability to see and capture reality too perfectly or to say something without over explaining it.

Artists are navigators, we bring our viewers in and show them what we see or feel. We allow them a glimpse of our expression and than we relinquish all control as the viewer makes the image or the journey their own.

For me, that is the highest complement, when someone gets your cue within an image and brings their own feelings and memories to make the painting their own. The artist has created a living image that evokes emotion or feelings and it is no longer a two dimensional image, it is a tool that evokes emotion, brings thought, soothes or frightens.

Frightens is an odd verb to attribute to painting but some of my paintings come from a place of depression or discomfort, I would rather a person feel frightened or uncomfortable rather than feel nothing. 

I want my feeling and intent in creating to become something that the viewer feels and understands in their own terms. To paint and evoke an emotion is like speaking in a different language than anyone else and having a stranger understand your language. That is the magic of creating art.

My next Installment will be on subject matter: Why do I paint the two special aspects of nature and how it became my style and intent.