I am enchanted by nature and extreme measures of time; (apparently) immutable stone and landforms, eroded by wind and water over millennia, dwarfing the human lifespan. I have expressed these fascinations through several media over the years, but have come to landscape painting as my primary voice. My work has nearly always been about natural forms and my relationship to the land. In that way, all of my work, whether painting or sculpture, flows from the same headwaters.
Painting here in rural Oregon renews and strengthens my belief in the importance of Nature to the human spirit. My work is about that. I am interested in the play of light and shadow creating abstract shapes and volumes that draw me into a scene. I do a lot of walking across the fields and through wooded areas, and am conscious of creating pathways into my paintings that can be followed to the horizon. The paths are often broken or obscured—as in life—but the way reveals itself. In my newer images, there is a greater sense of distance, drawing one still deeper.
My work is utterly personal, but never about “personality”. In the spirit of The Unknown Craftsman, (Soetsu Yanagi, Kodansha International) I think of myself as a servant and messenger of beauty. My intent is to capture singular moments of time and mood. Twilight compels me. The hours of dawn and dusk are exquisitely lonely and melancholy, yet somehow full of promise. I am interested in the dormant seasons, when life is quiet and preparing to renew itself; fog is still and enveloping and seamless; there is a mysterious silence in snow, not experienced in any other weather. These are solitary and reflective times, about transition. (In Japan, the color grey signifies change.) Even an ordinary scene can be rich and evocative when one explores it with openness. All of our emotions can be accessed there.
While there is visual texture in my work, the surfaces are relatively smooth. This is especially true of the skies, many of which are seamless gradations of hue and value. I believe strongly that because light reflection creates a sort of “jacquard” effect, surface texture distracts from the imagery and I take care to minimize it. I often use worn brushes as erasers, removing paint to draw and define line. There is often a combination—a contrast—of weather conditions within a single image; hardly unusual here in Oregon.