I am an artist who paints landscapes throughout the Pacific Northwest where I live. I entered this occupation relatively late in my life so I should tell you how it came about, why I paint and what is important to me about art.
Raised in Southern California I graduated from high school there in 1965. I moved to Oregon in 1971. In 1980 I received an architectural degree from the University of Oregon followed by 30 years of architectural practice. I participated in all aspects of the profession but predominately in project management and technical writing.
Toward the end of this time I felt a strong desire to rediscover the joys of visual expression I had experienced in my youth. So I began to expand my skills in observation, composition and various mediums of art. This included a good amount of study in drawing and painting. I received guidance along the way from a number of excellent teachers in the Portland area.
I have enjoyed outdoor life since childhood. My wife and I have traveled extensively in the wilderness areas of the West. We raised two children in our rural Corbett home and shared the love of the natural world with them. So I feel at home with the landscape as subject matter. I aspire to achieve what the painter and teacher John Sloan said, “A landscape is the portrait of a place.”
My aim when I paint a landscape is to capture the colors and quality of light of a particular time and place, that is, the ‘truth’ about it. I believe this goal, though it is quite specific, can express more universal truths as well.
A good picture—in any medium—is one that holds together, is a pleasing assembly of shapes, colors and values, and gives the viewer pleasure over time as well as at first sight. I believe this is possible with the whole range of available subject matter whether the artist’s expression is representational or abstract.
When I work on a landscape project I try to answer the questions, “What impression is this sight making on me?” followed by, “How can I best capture this impression?” If I am successful “my” impression may touch a chord in the viewer. This experience will not be an exact duplicate of mine.
Hopefully the viewer responds to something in the picture that brings up a memory, a hope, a desire. If this happens it means that we have found something in common. This is the common ground of more universal human experience that is sometimes called beauty. Beauty is the ever elusive aim of the artist and a basic human need that is often awkward to talk about.
Perhaps the beauty in art is pointing us to something beyond, what C.S. Lewis once described as “the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited.”