A viewer of my paintings wrote to me recently and had this to say, “Your landscapes are so evocative, for me so emotional. You have a gift for portraying more than realism in your landscapes-not something fantastical, but something simultaneously approachable and not. Not everyone will do what you do, but so many of us are deluded or ambitious enough to aspire to.” This very generous and kind statement describes exactly how I would hope that my art is received by those who view it. I try to live up to this ideal with each painting.
One of the reasons that I’m a visual artist is that it has always been more effective for me to share my excitement about the natural world through visual means, painting or drawing, than it has been through writing or speaking about it. My ove of the land, the Midwest in particular, and my desire to communicate that deep seeded love is what drives my work. Painting is the vehicle for my expression of that love. My purpose is not to replicate the specific or dwell on the spectacular, as much as it is to observe the specific and to discover the beauty in the seemingly unspectacular. My
goal is to paint a sense of place and what that means to me as an artist.
Typically my work is painted on location during all seasons of the year. The paintings created on location are painted on a smaller scale in oils. The smaller scale of these paintings allows me to capture those fleeting moods, and quickly changing light or weather effects. I’ve painted this way, en plein air, for many years now, and have completed many, many hundreds of these studies. Most of these small paintings are painted either on linen or primed board and are completed in one to one and half hours.
The studies represent my immediate reaction to the subject matter and are a record of that short period in time. Just as importantly, they build an enormous library of visually recallable information that is indispensable to me in the studio. When working on larger paintings in the studio, studies and the memory of the time and place are invaluable to me and form the basis for much of my studio work.
My most recent work has been to create large landscape paintings, as large in scale as those painted in the studio, entirely on location. Some of these paintings are completed in one session; others are completed over a longer period of time lasting several sessions. The challenge that working from life in this way presents is overridden by the benefit to my understanding of light and color on the landscape, and the authenticity that it brings to my paintings. I foresee my art continuing to move in this direction, major works mostly completed on site.
View the finished piece: