“SHEEP WITH YELLOW APPLES was inspired by an old apple tree I discovered off a side lane on the outskirts of Taos, NM. I set up my French easel and did a fairly elaborate drawing with some color notes. I remember a few local people stopping by and asking me what I was drawing. They could not believe I found beauty in this old tree they drove by every day.
“Later, I did this painting in my Colorado studio. The lone sheep is central to this work and is symbolic of the spiritual side of nature.”
“An idea for this painting came to me last summer, when I had a chance to visit the south of France. In the vibrant city of Aix-en-Provence, I went to see Cézanne’s atelier up on the hill, and I was just impressed with his light-filled studio. Right after that, still mesmerized, I walked down the hill to come to this busy square dotted with the colorful umbrellas of outdoor cafés. Late-afternoon sunlight was still intense. The quality of light in this region of France has been a magnet for many artists. Immersed in the scene on this square, I understood why—but how to capture that in a watercolor painting? It seemed like a question not easy to answer, but, when I saw dappled light on the ground, I felt I had a eureka moment.”
Zantman Art Galleries, Carmel, CA.
“The concept behind TERRITORY evolved as the piece progressed. I hoped to capture a nearby and rather familiar barn in a new light. A snowstorm, and the change in patterns of light on dark, caught my interest one early morning. I intended only to capture the subtle drama that was present, but a new approach I was experimenting with in the sky altered the mood. Rather than a simple wash, I approached the sky with numerous layers applied in a rapid, crosshatched pattern. The scene took on a night feel—stark and empty. Watercolor, in particular, is a give and take between you and the work. Once you stop fighting that, good things happen.”
“I usually paint horses and cowboys, but this one is about rocks. Huge walls of red rock that dwarf men and their messages. It’s really rather abstract in a way—stone shapes and shadows, with iron and manganese oxide deposits called ‘desert varnish’ providing camouflage for the ancient stone art. The petroglyphs are hard to find unless you know right where to look. Just like in real life.
“I spent one spring day with three friends on horseback in a narrow canyon discovering ancient stone art. From that trip came a series of paintings of cowboys examining petroglyphs, close up, with the ancient art easy to see. This painting is of the environment, and the rider and the figure on the rock seem incidental.”
“I like interior spaces: dark, largely unoccupied, punctured by a single light source, empty of human presence but always suggesting the aura of someone having just left the scene or not yet having arrived. I have always painted on the ‘dark side,’ my darkest colors painted first. COLD EMPTY BED is the depiction of an upstairs bedroom in our family ranch house in Idaho. High-mountain afternoon light bathes the period furnishings, the worn rug, the pine floor.”
“I was at a cat show with my animal-rescue group, where we also had a booth with shelter cats available for adoption. I walked past a cage with a “Kittens for Sale” sign on it, and something made me stop. A pair of the biggest, bluest eyes I’d ever seen on a cat was staring out at me. I couldn’t move. I didn’t need another kitten. But she was mine from that very moment. This is a painting of Carly at age 6 months. I’ve surrounded her with my favorite duvet, quilts, and pillows.
“Some artists keep experimenting and broadening their horizons throughout their careers. I have narrowed my scope and deepened it. I now paint only my favorite animals—cats and dogs with a few wild birds thrown in from time to time—to express the joy that these animals have given me every day of my life.”
“This painting congealed during a trip through northern New Mexico with two fellow artists, all of us sketching and taking photographs for inspiration back in our studios. This church clings to the side of a mountain in the small town of Placitas on the high road to Taos. The vantage point of this scene comes from the front yard of an old friend and associate now living across the street from the church. The final composition evolved directly from photo images on my computer, but, primarily, the energy and observations came from that glorious sunny autumn day celebrated with close friends with common interests and passions.”
Ventana Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM.
“If you pay attention, art transcends all parts of life and makes the ordinary things in life ‘a painting.’ Children, the figure, florals, landscapes, and animals are where I find an honest, uninhibited tie to the basics of life. I find a porous exchange with nature and feel like I am partaking in the true spirit of living. Watercolor, which lends itself to spontaneity, has long been my magical media. But the opportunity to paint with Richard Schmid for a number of years ignited my passion for oil painting once again. Now the subject inspires me as to whether a painting should be an oil painting or a watercolor.”
“When I was in Utah last August for the Maynard Dixon Country show, [artist] Ray Roberts showed me a vista in nearby Orderville that he had enjoyed painting earlier in the year. I immediately grasped the aesthetic potential of this view, with its random arrangement of the architectural forms: sheds, barns, and trailers. The scene reminded me of the 1930s Regionalist paintings of rural America. The strong sunlight created clearly defined shapes and edges that are easily expressed in my shape-to-shape approach to painting in watercolor. I also saw opportunities to utilize water-color’s unique granulating qualities.”
Fairmont Gallery, Sonoma, CA; Figurehead Gallery, Livermore, CA; George Stern Fine Arts, West Hollywood, CA; Knowlton Gallery, Lodi, CA; Nancy Dodds Gallery, Carmel, CA; Thunderbird Foundation, Mount Carmel, UT.
“ELLA ESPERA translated from Spanish to English means ‘she waits’ or ‘she hopes.’ It is a painting set in the southern central region of Mexico, in a small village called Mineral de Pozos. Lining the main street are several small shops selling hardware, produce, tires, and appliances. Stunted oak trees shade the shop fronts and provide a cool place to sit and wait for the bus. The woman in the painting sat motionless, staring down the road leading into town. The vigorous shadows and light on the wall behind her created a sense of frenzy and motion in stark contrast to her very calm, serene expression. The setting had everything I enjoy in a painting: random textures, various planes of space leading back into the small market, vibrant colors, and an interesting narrative.”
Featured in April 2012.