Here is my heart, my comfort zone, my place of zen.
I was once told by a professor that city kids painted verticals and country kids stuck to horizontals and he could tell I was a country kid from a mile a way. I couldn't paint a vertical with a gun to my head. He was wrong, of course. Houston is very much a city, but probably the flattest city you'll ever see.
I love horizontals. And thus horizons and the stripes they create. The open fields of rural America stretching out of the side of the road are comforting in their ceaslessness.
R.D. New Mexico
I'm from Texas, but not that Texas. That endless stretch of pink and yellow after Kerrville. This was actually inspired by the New Mexican colors of Richard Diebenkorn's early work.
I could read a lot into this one. Order vs Chaos. Man vs Nature. Big Grand themes. But this is where I started painting again. There is no versus here for me, only beginnings and begats. The sky becoming the mountains and the mountains becoming the land.
I mean, this is a landscape right? Does everyone see it? Or is it just me. I see fields going back into the distance eventually giving their heat up to the sky. But I'm biased.
A field. A building in the distance. A tree-lined horizon.
By The Way
I don't often get an ethereal quality in my works since I nearly beat them to death with a palette knife. But I don't know, something about this one has that lifting sensation.
This little painting worked hard to become a favorite. It had blue mountains. It had a cluster of Oak trees. There was so much. But I was just sold on those amazing little stripes in the bottom left. It just didn't work until everything came crashing down to serve those stripes. Worth it.
These sneaky mountains. How can air hide them. Every day on the same road, sometimes there's a mountain, sometimes there's not. It's madness.
Pardon my Greek here and my inability to make the dot above that "i" into an elegant slant. But through some Wikipedia wanderings I found the word "Liknon" used for a winnowing basket. Meaning to separate grain from chaff, yes. But also used in the ancient rites of the Dionysian Mystery cult. And as a cradle. Like a baby cradle. This clicks in my weird brain. I love this word.
The Trees Collection
This triptych emerged from my own back yard. Trees waltzing to and fro, from foreground to back in the evening light.
Son of Flora
I was very lucky to have seen the School of Arles exhibit at the Chicago Institute of Art that featured both Van Gogh and Gauguin's work side by side. I had always been a bigger fan of Gauguin, with his flat shapes and exotic colors and I'm feeling that here in this landscape. (In an homage, I am so not worthy, but that's kinda what I was going for here sort of way.)
But man is Van Gogh the guy. I felt sorry for Gauguin's work in that gallery. It was unfair. Maybe Van Gogh had just been dimmed in my mind by a hundred calendars and magnets, but in person... he will knock you down.
The archetype of tree as guardian and protector exists for a reason. This may not be Old Man Oak, but instead weathered, lean, but evergreen Pine. A cowboy guardian.
Man I read too many stories with personification as a child.
“We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” -Henry David Thoreau
This on was going to be my glorious tribute to yellow. That happy, happy color would encompass the entire canvas. But what is yellow alone? Sickly. That's all I could make of it. What is light without its dark? Warmth without the chill? Yellow without, well it turns out a lot of blue.
Maybe its because I was listening to Mike Duncan's Revolutions podcast about the English Revolution, but I see these trees as marching soldiers.
*Epiphany! I seem to always see trees as moving off some place, but a tree's very job is to stay put. How odd.
The Mountains Collection
Having just moved to the Upstate of South Carolina, these mountains are still a mystery to me. I'm beginning to understand them from a distance. The ranges become those horizontal stripes I'm so familiar with on my canvases.
This intimate, little painting is yet another attempt to capture that solid yet airy quality of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Everything is amplified here. The contrast, the texture. Creating an edginess to the stillness. But maybe I've been watching too many scary movies.
Hungry clouds gobbling up mountains.
This grand sky mountain kept wanting to float away as I tried to channel Cezanne's Mont Sainte Victoire. I think he would have liked the Blue Ridge mountains. Or at least liked to hate them as much as he liked to hate his own arch nemesis.
When the cool of the evening air comes in, but the earth is still warmed by the memories of the sun.
This was to be my fun little experiment. My tester. All the drama that I wanted to play out in the "Robyn" painting would be first attempted here. But it became too precious. It held its own and would not stand for such drastic endeavors. So she became "Robyn's" sister.
The Abstract Collection
"Indistinctness is my forte." - J.M.W. Turner
Sometimes I lose my landscapes. There was a mountain, a cloud, a tree and now poof gone. While chasing some formalist ambition the colors and shapes confiscate the work and come alive in their own right.
Mostly I still see landscapes. (Like a parent always sees the child in the adult.) But it can be hard to convince others.
The beginning of this had something to do with the sea. But it became about the stillness in the chaos. How distance dulls the noise.
Maybe this one's not finished. But I can't do it. I know its too haughty to site Michelangelo's later work of "unfinished" marbles. But maybe its more like an over easy egg. It's not done. It's gonna leak on your toast. But sometimes a runny yoke is the perfect breakfast.
This is the feeling I get when I step off the hiking trail. The immediate immenseness and density of the wilderness. It is both claustrophopic and breathtaking all at once.
This is an homage to my man Nicolas De Stael, whose colors I find jarringly modern for the early 19th century.
I blink and I change my mind about this quirky little work. Alaskan laser light show. Blink. Desolate post-apocalyptic ghost town. Blink. Japanese inspired Sumi ink landscape translated into thick encaustic oils. (Its true genesis is option C, but now that seems the least likely.)
This painting was a mountain leveled. Remnants remain, but what is left is a battlefield.
I needed an urban painting that would be still. Inspired by water tower graffiti the color scheme of this painting seemed to age with each layer. The pastels of the eighties gave way to the brown and turquoises of the early aughts. (Is that what we are calling that time now?) In the end a bridge? A train? Another landscape?
The Floral Collection
I am newly inspired by Spring in Greenville. For weeks we surprised with delicate Dogwoods and vibrant Azaleas around each corner. I've never been a fan of pink. (Probably out of some misguided sense of rebellion.) However, seeing it splashed about so vividly here has not influenced my subject matter, but also illuminated my palette on every canvas. Now I can barely get away from some form of rose, mauve or peach. Witnessing the transformation of the landscape each season has redefined these colors for me. It has shown me their power and daring, their impetuousness.
I feel like an old and well trodden path has been shown to me anew. Flowers, man... it's going to be exciting.
This is my neighbors house. Do you see that spot of brown in the upper right? That't their house. How amazing is that. I didn't make these colors up.
Okay, no joke, flowers are really pretty. Their delicate features are maybe not best suited for my ham-fisted pallet knifery. But the colors, oh the colors. I'm going to make this happen
"I paint flower so they will not die." - Frieda Kahlo
"In the springtime, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love - the spring. "
(Willie Wonka quoting Shakespeare quoting a Celtic ballad)
The Beach Collection
I'm fascinated by seaside colors. It seems the combinations on the Atlantic shimmer and shine, but never settle in like the deeper hues of the Pacific. Here everything is fleeting.
Ah, sunset sand.
I love the way evening retains the heat of the day and bundles it into even its shadows. The sand remembers the sun. Heat and energy as memory. Its a comforting thought.
I'm mildly obsessed with the idea of the French Republican Calendar. The revolution attempted to reinvent time in a more judicious, logical way. Thermidor was the month roughly corresponding to July. And it was the month that saw their impassioned, bloody end with the Thermidorian Reaction and the death of Robespierre. It is easy to see why some believe that heat drives madness.
A delicate bridge. A man-made leap across the ocean on a hot summer day.
My eternal quest to combine purple and yellow and not think of LSU. Darn, I thought of LSU.