Works on paper
I treat my landscapes more like portraits than snapshots of a place. Portraits contain both subject and observer, and good portraits show some evidence of that intimacy. The places that interest me already seem to contain some piece of me, and I feel compelled to explore that resonance. I revisit them many times in my mind before I commit them to a painting. For this reason I could never be a plein-air painter. We all see the world through the colored glass of our particular experience and it is important for me to process my perceptions, which often need time to form.
I have noticed that I return over and over to certain themes, abstract forms and compositions. I'm not sure why. There is something about the line between atmosphere and earth, about the interaction between the tops of trees and air that make me look. Seeing the sky in water on the ground, and the patterns of melting snow on a hillside trip my attention. Cold and oncoming dusk as they herald the incredible loneliness I feel when night overtakes wild winter land.
Then there are the patterns made by our presence, the trails and shapes we leave as part of some relationship to a place, and that patterns interaction with other shapes and sky. Every once in a while they all appear in such a way that I am sure that there is nothing better to do but try to bring the elements together in my studio and mine that event for as much as it will give up.
I learned a long time ago that there is a certain energy to an unfinished painting, and have thought a lot about that phenomenon. They want you to finish them, and I find this interaction powerful.
A painting is more interesting when it is interactive, requiring some participation from the observer. I have found that if I put in just enough dots, the viewer connects them and the experience can be almost conversational. It is that way while painting them, and one hopes that they contain what one puts into them.
The challenge is making those dots on many levels, both on the actual surface and on the emotional and even spiritual levels if you can. I think of it like poetry... which I struggle with when it requires too much work, but find interesting and even cathartic when it asks something from me as the reader.
One of my favorite quotes is by Kahlil Gibran, who said 'Your children come through you, not from you.' I am most impressed when I can see someone has found a part of themselves in one of these paintings, and am happy that they are no longer mine.