I grew up in rural northwest Georgia in the sixties and seventies. The mostly undisturbed locale afforded me almost endless exposure to landscapes and the microcosm of those landscapes. I found significance in the vastness of a near-virgin stand of fifty inch Tulip Poplars and also the less appreciated beauty of the gnarled root ball that had grown around the moss-covered granite boulder. Both these and other similar experiences have influenced my painting. I realize now, almost forty years later, how much those images are seared into my subconscious recall. It seems to be the window that filters everything I see and create.
I survive by means of an architectural practice but my deeply rooted passion is the exploration and capture of the natural, and to some degree, man-altered landscapes that surround me. First and foremost, I attempt to capture the true essence of the subject both in form and color. I try to select subjects and compositions that have multivalent meanings. Initially my finished piece may appear almost as an abstract of color and texture. But I want the viewer, upon a closer look, to see what originally drew me to the image. The best compliment I can receive about my work is for people to say they would like to visit the exact spot the painting attempts to capture.
I want my larger landscapes to give the viewer the feeling of standing where I had stood and seeing what I had seen. The smaller abstract paintings are an attempt to reconcile the often missed beauty that is so easily overlooked within the larger landscape: the forest blocking the trees. I enjoy striving for layered views and possible double meanings particularly as my painting titles try to reach deeper than the initial viewing might reveal. Several example of this use of titles are “Protector” and “End of Cubbage”. Both of these paintings are large acrylic-on-canvas pieces. The first viewing of “Protector” reveals nothing more than two large boulders amongst a sunlit mountainside. I was drawn to the subject because of what I perceived as two very different rock formations positioned unusually close to each other. One rock had a very feminine-like smoothness while the other had an almost wolf-like voraciousness. The juxtaposition of the two rocks combined with a gnarled oak tree’s shadow instantly lead me to a vision of the tree somehow protecting the smooth feminine rock against the wolf-like formation. My goal was to present a pleasing composition but also to use the painting title to solicit debate or discussion about the possible meaning.
The second painting is somewhat of a departure for me in the sense that it contains many man-made objects such as kayaks and a cottage. The location is in northern Florida along the Intra-Coastal Waterway. Cubbage is actually the name of the street that now dead-ends at the ICW. The construction of a newer highway and drawbridge north of the site meant the abandonment and removal of the Cubbage Street pier bridge. The title alludes to both the end of Cubbage in the figurative sense and the true end of Cubbage Street.
I’ve spent the last twenty-five years living in the shadow of Kennesaw Mountain. I hiked all of the designated trails then began exploring areas not often viewed by visitors. Many of my paintings are drawn from day hikes on the more remote southwestern slopes of the large and small mountains. One in particular is titled “Turkey Buzzard”. I had searched for months for a view that would capture the huge boulders on the large mountain but also show the perspective and layering of Little Kennesaw Mountain in the background. While searching for this view I discovered the huge Turkey Buzzards that roost on these slopes and soar on the thermals rising off of the valley floor below. One of my favorite paintings is Andrew Wyeth’s “Soaring” that depicts a turkey buzzards perspective of a farm below. In my painting the bird is well hidden and might never be seen if the title did not reference it.
I’m not sure where my work will progress. I’ve hiked extensively in the southwestern US and find the geometric simplicity of those landscapes very intriguing. I have recently started a series of paintings centered on Angles Landing in Zion National Park. I hope to post those before the end of this year. That I can paint as a hobby and not be forced to survive by it is indeed a luxury. I delight in being able to share my experiences and my mind’s eye-view with you.
I have also dabbled in model railroading for over 25 years. In 2005 I was lucky enough to have my narrow gauge diorama of a freelance logging operation set in the Pacific Northwest selected for publication in the international modeling magazine “Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette”. This publication is read in twenty-one different countries and widely considered the premier modeling magazine in publication today. The article is posted under the content bar of the home page for my site. The quality of the article reproduction is not prefect. The expanded more easily read text can be found under the same home page model link. My primary focus was on the architectural structures and detailed scenery since that is what most interests me. The diorama is fully operational with respect to trains actually running on the track. The text explains how the structures, scenery and train models were built. The majority of the building has fully detailed interiors. A link to the publication can be found at: http://www.ngslgazette.com/.