I paint most of my work outdoors. Painting outdoors inspires me to do my best work. My artwork is a reflection of places I've visited, enjoyed and wish to share with others … places such as Southern California, New England, the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware River Valley, and the Pacific Northwest. Each of these is unique in terms of their buildings, boats, surrounding seascapes, landscapes, flowers, climate, color … and whatever else catches my attention when I'm painting outdoors.
Several years ago, while visiting my son and his family in eastern Washington State, I was driving up a winding country road when I suddenly came upon one of those imposing grain elevators. You can't miss these tall, angular, metal-clad structures … set smack up against the roadway. If you've never seen one before, they're bound to greet you with somewhat of a surprise!
After I'd finished my first painting of a grain elevator, I liked what I had accomplished and decided to do several more. I became increasingly interested in their shapes and forms, cladding, chutes, tubes, windows, doors, hardware and landscape settings. Over the years, I've painted many grain elevators and gained somewhat of a reputation for doing this type of work.
I'm also interested in other types of farm and utilitarian buildings. Many years ago, the summer between high school and college, I did a number of paintings of tidemills and boatworks on the Chesapeake Bay. More recently … painting once again down by the Bay, I did some paintings of old houses, inns and churches. These led to various commissions and award-winning work. Perhaps my interest in this subject matter and my ability to successfully execute them has something to do with my years of experience as an architect. This may also explain why I get so much enjoyment from painting sailboats, fishing boats and flowers. The details and compositions of these things fascinate me!
But it is the settings for these types of subject matters that have fascinated me since I was a youngster. Beautiful landscapes and seascapes inspire me to paint. Over the years I've learned how to capture the uniqueness of different types of trees, flowers, rocks, water, clouds and skies. Therefore, I've been able to make interesting compositions of these elements wherever I've traveled.
I've also noticed that the techniques I used in my earlier work have not really changed that much over time, yet I'm able to develop new ways to capture unique features for subject matter I identify in places I visit. More recently, in conducting outdoor painting workshops, I focus my efforts on finding interesting sites, because I firmly believe this is what inspires artists to do their best work.