BOATS & TRUCKS
My paintings are inspired
by old structures: abandoned buildings, weathered boats
and rusting trucks. Aesthetically, these edifices have
magnificent forms and shapes, yet I am attracted to their
crookedness and decay. The fading wood, peeling paint
and broken windows provide each image with a personality
and a history. Utilization or these subjects imparts cultural
metaphors relating to time, society, man and nature. They
hold within them mysteries and suggestions of the past.
Who built that house? Did teenagers ever sneak in and
out of the windows? What happened to the family who lived
and loved there? What storms and hardships did that vessel
endure? Who was the Captain? Who created the beautiful
lines of that boat? Who proudly drove that once brand
new shiny red truck? Did a dog get to sit up front or
did one ride in the back? These commonly found subjects
are now beaten and worn, yet they speak of strength, dignity,
love and time. Their future is questionable. The old truck
will continue to rust and crumble. Nature may take over
a vessel and send it to the bottom of the sea. Man may
tear down an old beloved house leaving it to be paved
over and parked on by Wal-mart shoppers. I am attempting
to open peoples’ eyes, to draw their attention to
the human side of life and to remind them of the humanity
that these 20th Century relics and ruins represent.
Through the warping of space
and the subtle nuances of color, I emphasize the significance
of these worn and decaying structures. I employ Renaissance
theories of perspective along with multiple viewpoints
in order to establish an ambiguous, all-encompassing pictorial
space. This space invites the viewer to experience the
subject and the place. It creates a feeling, expresses
a personality and emphasizes the dignity of my subject.
Using brushstrokes of color and light, I describe the
movement or stillness of the environment. Weathered wood,
dripping rust and peeling paint create patterns and colors
that provide for a sensuous surface. By focusing on these
tactile qualities, I am emphasizing the feeling of solidity
and decay of each building, vessel or vehicle.
The process of creating my
work includes various procedures and experiments. I make
several on site visits to the subjects which I am attracted
to. I will do some sketching and take photographs to use
as references in my studio. My small canvases are usually
painted on location, while the larger pieces are worked
in the studio. I experiment with variations in the shapes
and sizes of my paintings, including diptychs and triptychs.
Some pieces are worked on canvas, while others on wood
panel or masonite. My works are always changing through
composition, space and color until I reach what I feel
is the most effective visual statement.
Through creativity, experimentation
and research, I am suggesting historical and sociological
concepts that are connected to these abandoned and decaying
structures. By placing these commonly found structures
in a unique space and emphasizing specific characteristics,
they become icons and metaphors relating to our culture.
The abandoned buildings, vessels and vehicles of the 20th
Century will continue to decay, but through thick strokes
of paint I am seeking to immortalize their profundity.
Strong and whimsical, like an
old man of the sea with a tall tale to tell, sea birds have
become a prominent subject that I have added to my repertoire.
After spending over a decade
inspired by worn, weathered fishing boats, I have developed
a fondness for the sea birds that adorn them. Soft feathered
bodies, beady little eyes, and wonderfully formed feet
provide each bird with an intriguing personality. Their
stance is often elegant and graceful, yet the wind in
their feathers and the look in their eyes can be as expressive
as an old salt reflecting on a long life at sea.
I have spent many seasons
on commercial fishing boats. Throughout this experience,
I have been studying and appreciating the quirky characteristics
of sea birds. I am attracted to the soft and subtle forms
of their bodies and how they contrast with their bold
angular beaks, skinny little legs and boney bright feet.
Out fishing, or tied up in port, I take photographs, draw
and paint. Time of day, time of year, wind, fog, sun and
rain provide various types of light, shadow and reflection.
These elements influence the expression and the mood of
each piece. Some of my paintings are completed on board
my “floating studio”, while others are painted
in my studio at home using my photographs and sketches
As with an old boat, I find
character and personality in birds. The juxtaposition
of weathered fishing vessels and these curious, feathered
creatures continues to fascinate me. With such whimsical
elegance, they too tell stories of the sea.