521 Orchard Circle, Laurel Park
open studio #64-7
Although I paint from nature, there is a certain point when the painting becomes something other than a representation of what I see. I use certain themes that are not only visual, but are also metaphors for life as I experience it. The theme of floating leaves for example, has been part of my work for at least thirty years and is about change and transcendence. The idea came while I was working as an illustrator at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Shortly after my Mother’s death, I was asked to create a brochure cover for a program on the Elizabeth Kubler Ross work on death and dying. Since I was dealing with my own grief, I began to think about this in a symbolic way, and about the things that mattered to my Mother. She and my Father had built a pond a long time before water features were popular, and what they created seemed like a wonderful way to symbolize life and the death that we all must face. The still water reflected the sky and the trees above it. As the leaves fell onto the surface, their colors were rich and vibrant, much as we are when we are young. As the leaves submerged, they began to fade, and eventually slipped to the floor of the pond to become food and shelter for future generations of frogs and other aquatic creatures. This is what living and dying is about for me, and I believe that we all learn lessons from nature that tell us how we can create more meaningful lives.
The colors I use are borrowed from the subjects I paint but are translated into impressions and explorations of light. Some days the light is subdued and the shadows soft, while on others, the sunlight dancing on the leaves is crisp, clear and glowing.
The actual process of painting is tied more to viewpoint and inner vision than to technique. I have to develop a sense of oneness with my subject that comes from being still, listening and observing. Once I have an idea and begin to paint, the work takes on a life of it’s own. It reflects my emotions, my observations and my experience as an artist. Lately there has been a sense of urgency in my work and I want to capture every moment. I feel that we are losing touch with nature and maybe through my paintings, someone might begin to see how important it is to preserve this beautiful place we inhabit on planet earth.
GPS 35.31541, -82.50594