Art has always been a thrilling experience to me. As a boy, I drew whenever I could. I drew in the car waiting for mom, trying my best to copy automobile designs, and later, sketching landscape ideas. From my father I learned to be a patient observer and to revere nature. I tagged along as he walked outdoors, identifying trees and birds, stopping just to listen in awe.
Many years later, I began to take my art supplies into the field, where I discovered painting en plein air, and found my own “holy places” in the solitude of nature. Constantly trying to improve, I ventured out and painted scenes in and around my home town. At first, I felt exposed and vulnerable because I’d never seen anyone else painting outdoors in my community. Gradually, though, I began to concentrate and produce pieces I regarded as useful learning experiences.
Over time — and without aiming to do so — I realized I’d worked my way into a thesis: that beauty and meaning are both profoundly available in the here and now. If we think like detectives, constantly on the hunt for creative spark, we can find magic in apparently the most mundane places. Life becomes an aesthetic feast.
Cameras capture light in a very predictable way. Our eyes, however, work differently. We filter by interest and find ourselves drawn to the elements we resonate with. We identify light and shade; spots of color, and human faces, while the rest of the scene blurs into context. Painters like Rembrandt, Sorolla, and Sargent understood this, and their paintings are pure magic for me to study.
I strive in my own work to depict space, light, and emotion, in a kind of dance back and forth between intellect and feelings. This is the realm of poetry, where craft ends and art begins, becoming another language for our human experience.