My artistic heroes are the early Impressionists and the continuing American tradition of painting on location or “en plein air”. As a Florida native, I grew up camping and hiking all over the country. Painting oil landscapes “en plein air” is just a continuation of my love and appreciation for nature. I am constantly inspired by the way the sun changes the world as it moves across the sky. Painting on location allows me to witness firsthand the effects of light, weather and season on the landscape and offers constantly changing possibilities of artistic expression.
Although I have had some formal art training, my most profound teacher has been nature itself and I find the experiences of painting on location to be both artistically challenging and rewarding. Most of my paintings are completed from bare canvas to completion on site. The only studio work done is to remove imbedded bugs and dirt and to add my signature and a final coat of varnish. Like the Impressionists, I prefer to work in layers of oil, wet over dry. My customary pallete contains a warm and cool of each primary color, plus a warm and cool green, white and black. I'm not stuck to this pallet and will add additional colors as needed. Paintings are usually begun with a loose drawing in oil on the canvas to formalize placement and composition and followed by a color block in. Working from dark to light, larger shapes are broken into smaller ones and details added until I have said all I wanted to say and the painting is finished. I work in a larger format, up to 30” x 40”, than is usual in plein air painting, and several trips to the site at the same time of day are required for completion. For me, the day to day changes are an opportunity for me to experience the site in a variety of conditions and to choose which light effects or mood would best reflect my impression of the location. I try to remain open to the possibilities of the site that unfold during the painting process and incorporate them into the painting as they occur. During the final stages of painting, I lock in the light and mood throughout the entire painting. To help in achieving this, I use intensity of color to excite or relax the eye, deepened shadows to create an air of mystery and timelessness, and soft edges to create atmosphere.
When traveling to distant locations or when time is limited, or when I participate in a "paint out", I create smaller paintings with a more direct or “alla prima” method of painting. Because of the time frame for completion, my brushstrokes become bolder and more direct and the resulting paintings are energetic and impressionistic.
Whatever painting method I use, when a painting is successfully completed, I feel as though I have become a part of the land, and it has become a part of me. It is my hope that the resulting paintings share the beauty, peace and serenity that I find in the timeless beauty of the natural world. Their creation has allowed me a greater connection to this time and to these vanishing places.
"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul." (John Muir)