Why I Paint
Copying the landscape or rendering precisely the arrangement of objects in a still life set before me, even though what is before me may move me with its beauty and, indeed, has moved me to paint it, is not what I am trying to do with my painting. For me, copying the world is best done with photography or super-realism. But I have found, after spending too many years trying to apprehend that beauty by rendering the objects as I see them with my eyes, that the emotional response experienced in viewing can be lost when it arrives at the canvas.
On one hand, here is the landscape, moving me to respond to it, taking my breath away, on the other hand, here is the painting now on canvas. For all intents it is the same image and yet lacking, not taking my breath away. Another artist would have understood this problem immediately but it took me some time to understand that what I am called to do is not paint the landscape but to paint the feeling it gives me and yet, because I love realism, to keep it real.
Some will call this the artist’s “interpretation”, a term I am uncomfortable with. To me, interpretation implies a disconnect from the very thing I am struggling to depict. So I do not interpret my landscapes and still lifes, rather I use their inherent structure and, using color and brushwork, overlay my response.
A better way to think of my approach is this: The beauty I experience when viewing something is the human part of that thing, it is something experienced inwardly and, though the thing may be beautiful in its own right, the beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder….and so I continue my work to paint, realistically, the beauty I experience.
As obvious as this may seem, it must be remembered when painting realism. I can paint the object, yes, but I must also remember to paint what I feel about it or, better yet, paint it in such a way that my emotional response will be can be found and experienced by the viewer of the finished piece. This is accomplished through the composition, color, brushwork, and finish. It is that subtle thing called art.
As for “style”, if a style emerges from this then so be it. There is certainly no effort to create a style artificially.
I have been honored three times at the Carmel Art Festival, was winner of the first Monterey Plein Air Festival, and have been part of a number of painting competitions and exhibits across the nation: Plein Air Easton, Sedona Plein Air Festival, Callaway Gardens Plein Air, and others. I enjoyed a long career in art as an illustrator, designer, and fine artist before returning to my native California and taking up plein air landscape oil painting. I’ve worked in watercolor, scratchboard, paper sculpture, and acrylic. My work is part of the permanent collection of the Academy Art Museum on the East Coast. I am one of the founding members and a Signature Member of the Monterey Bay Plein Air Painting Association (MBPAPA). I work outdoors and in the studio. My work is currently available directly from me. My wife and I live in Monterey.
Academy Art Museum, Easton, Maryland
Carmel Art Festival, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Plein Air Easton, Easton, Maryland
San Luis Obispo Plein Air, San Luis Obispo, California
Frank Bette Plein Air Competition, Alameda, California
“My California: Portals and People”, National Steinbeck Center
“The Passionate Landscape”, Le Beau Soleil Gallery
“Grace Your Walls”, Le Beau Soleil Gallery
“The Bordeaux Countryside”, Le Beau Soleil Gallery
“Farmlands, Wetlands: Landscapes of San Jose”, Stone Griffin Gallery, Campbell
“Sirens of the Garden”, Founder’s Choice Award
“The Colorful Coast: Landscapes of the Monterey Peninsula”, Le Beau Soleil Gallery
“Carmel Art Festival Plein Air Exhibit”, Honorable Mention, Carmel Art Festival
“See the Gift”, Le Beau Soleil Gallery, Holiday Show, 2004
“The Challenge of Plein Air”, Le Beau Soleil Gallery, October 2004
“Views of the Land: Plein Air Painters of the Monterey Peninsula”, Pebble Beach, September 2004
“Two Views”, Alvarado Gallery, Monterey
“2004 Monterey Plein Air Festival”, First Place Winner
“Carmel Art Festival 2003 Plein Air Competition”, Honorable Mention, Carmel
“Plein Air Sunscapes”, The Art House, Pacific Grove, CA
“Coyote Valley Artists”, Gallery Kiosk, San Jose, CA