For decades I have focused on the careful observation of the subject in my work, be it figure or landscape. As an art student, I travelled without a camera so I would draw more. The sustained focus needed for my detailed drawings deepened my perception of the subject I was admiring, which has become one of the gifts of being a figurative artist: observing nature directly, along with an intense experience of transcendence. The concentration required while struggling to create a two-dimensional image from reality takes me more completely out of myself than anything else.
The paintings are executed slowly and deliberately, dominated by clarity and high-definition, with color and light posing the greatest challenge. This painting technique requires time, so when traveling I spend at least a month in each place, with the subsequent benefit of experiencing a range of light and weather conditions. Working on a small scale enables me to expediently capture the many possibilities of a single landscape.
In contrast to this practice, coastal areas around the North Atlantic that attracted me several years ago presented me with the new problem of fog. I could see very little, and what was visible was constantly moving in and out of sight, but I loved what I saw and had to find a new way to work. This environment inspired me to explore my interest in Chinese literati painting, particularly their use of large empty spaces expressed as mists or clouds. The yang of the details in the foreground and mountains in the background is consistently balanced by the yin of the void. Rediscovering drawing in charcoal after twenty-five years gave me the ideal medium for this elusive subject that required speed and freedom and allowed me to work larger while still catching diverse forms of fog.
In artist residencies in England, Newfoundland, Iceland, Denmark, and at my summer home in Vermont, I have been privileged to see wonderful things in different ways, with travel and art entwined. The paintings reflect the time needed to arrive at certainty, and the mystery is acknowledged in the drawings.