56"x78" oil on canvas and hardboard
My paintings are meditations triggered by places or situations in my memory, arrived at through a sort of daydreaming state of mind. I attempt to evoke that mood in the handling of the formal elements of the painting, especially the color and the perspectival point of view. I wish to create both a believable place and the sense of something more significant behind it. The viewer, in contact with the painting and their own memories, may then project into the space and experience the significance that I sensed.
This approach has led me to an interest in souvenirs. I see them as an attempt to capture a special place or experience in concrete or symbolic form. By doing paintings of my own remembered places and experiences, I have been following a parallel path. I like the comparison with some art traditions.
I use borders in some of the paintings to function simultaneously as framing devices and as an arena in which to create a dialogue with the internal painting. The borders also extend the meaning of the internal subject. Memories often consist of simultaneous kaleidoscopic vignettes that, in combination, embody the whole, original experience. Each vignette is also rich and full of expanding detail and meaning. It is this multi-faceted effect that I am trying to capture by making each vignette a separate, viable painting that, when linked up with the related paintings, completes the wider and more varied theme.
I paint my oil paintings from memory. A result of this passage of time is to bring to these places or experiences a more distanced, evaluative view of their meanings. As I reflect on the subjects during the long development process of a painting, I sometimes try to incorporate the insights I’ve arrived at about their larger social significance, beyond the emotional or psychic effect that originally generated the images. I would like the meanings of my paintings to be as multilayered as their actual surfaces are.
My current watercolors evolved out my teaching at Columbus College of Art and Design. I have been teaching watercolor painting since 1986. While introducing the many different ways of handling the medium to my students, I became increasingly interested in applying those techniques to the ideas I was working with in my oil paintings. In my oils I have long been working with pattern. I have more recently been investigating ways to use several techniques in different areas of a single painting. With the newer watercolors I began to try to reveal the sources of pattern as still-life objects laid on the patterns they might have inspired, sometimes using changes of technique to further separate them. Next came the machine series in which I used simple old machines to “deconstruct” the patterns into objects. These machines began to seem more sinister as the world around us became suddenly more dangerous and less “well oiled”. This eventually led to a more content laden direction in my machination series, and a darker view in my work in general.