As my landscape paintings have continued to develop, I've found myself searching for even greater clarity in each composition I undertake. Over the last few years I've spent more time simply looking at everything around me, and when an idea forms I begin to look for something very specific that I can then capture and transform into the vision I have already in my mind. I've been looking for ways to get to the essence of each landscape, a search for a singularity, so to speak, that communicates my vision in the most unfiltered way possible.
The priority for me has always been the creation of a convincing illusion that makes my visual point, and the source material (often from multiple views and vantage points) is always subordinated to the necessities of that vision. Each painting is the result of a process of modification and distillation. The significance is that all of my paintings are based on an idea derived from direct experience and are attempts to create a painterly, personal equivalent for the immediate visual world.
I want the viewer to have an emotional reaction to my work, so that even without any implied narrative, a relationship with the landscape is created. It is usually the quality of light or the time of day that most people respond to, even if the location is unfamiliar. I also hope that the underlying abstract structure of the physical world, in addition to the illusion of reality in painting it, is something I can make clear.
Portraiture has always held a particular fascination for me. However, I don't mean the meat-and-potatoes portraiture typified by so many of today's professional portrait painters, who must, by necessity, flatter their sitters and follow stylistic trends currently in fashion. Rather, I've always been attracted to those artists who have relentlessly and vigorously explored the singular physiognomy and psychology of their sitters, without being overly concerned with pleasing their models. In the works of Velasquez, Rembrandt, Goya, Ingres, Degas, Eakins, Egon Schiele, Lucien Freud, and recently ( in an apologetically very short list), artists as disparate as Jenny Saville, Jacob Collins, Bo Bartlett, Chuck Close, Alyssa Monks, Jeremy Lipking and so many others in an upswing of interest, portraiture lays claim to the highest of artistic accomplishments and becomes both the greatest and humblest form of human empathy imaginable.
"A true account of the actual is the rarest poetry, for common sense always takes a hasty and superficial view." Henry David Thoreau
"A work of art does not appeal to the intellect. It does not appeal to the moral sense. Its aim is not to instruct, not to edify, but to awaken an emotion."
" Every artist who, without reference to external circumstances, aims to represent the ideas and emotions which come to him when he is in the presence of nature, is in process of his own spiritual development…"
"My aim in painting is always, using nature as the medium, to try to project upon my canvas my most intimate reaction to the subject matter as it appears when I like it most; when the facts are given unity by my interests and prejudices. Why I select certain subjects rather than others, I do not exactly know, unless it is that I believe them to be the best mediums for a synthesis of my inner experience." Edward Hopper
"Art is not only a form of action, it is a form of social action. For art is a type of communication, and when it enters the environment it produces its effects just as any other form of action does." Mark Rothko
"The key to the creative type is that he is separated out of the common pool of shared meanings. There is something in his life experience that makes him take in the world as a problem; as a result he has to make personal sense out of it. This holds true for all creative people to a greater or lesser extent, but it is especially obvious with the artist."
Ernest Becker ("The Denial of Death")
"In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism and skepticism and humbug, and we shall want to live more musically. How will that come about, and what will we really find? It would be interesting to be able to prophesy, but it is even better to be able to feel that kind of foreshadowing, instead of seeing absolutely nothing in the future beyond the disasters that are all the same bound to strike the modern world and civilization like terrible lightning, through a revolution or a war, or the bankruptcy of worm-eaten states.
If we study Japanese art, we see a man who is undoubtedly wise, philosophic and intelligent, who spends his time doing what? In studying the distance between the earth and the moon? No. In studying Bismark's policy? No. He studies a single blade of grass."
Vincent Van Gogh