Aside from subject or style, my work is about harmony and connections as well as the art and the act of painting.
I hold a MFA in Theatre and Poetry and am mostly self-taught in visual arts. In that sense, I may be an outsider, but after 40 years of painting, I do not consider myself a naïve or untrained painter.
I was born in Murray, Kentucky, and raised in Detroit, Michigan. In my early years, I trained in theater, worked as a professional actor, set designer, stage manager, and hairstylist. Along the way, I’ve written poetry, short stories, and published three novels. But I always knew I was a painter.
Once, traveling through New Mexico, a storm came up over the mountains, and I couldn’t resist pulling off the road to watch. I had already seen hawks, turkey vultures, crows, finches, cattle, and pronghorn antelope with their young. But I was overcome by a strange yet visceral feeling of really seeing the landscape for the first time, while my life came together more cohesively in that single moment than I could ever have imagined.
My paintings are artifacts, personal histories of my studio life, among other things. At their best, they trace my quest for meaning like a journal recording the daily events and historical influences of my existence. Most of these influences are recognizable, primarily because I have taken few pains to hide them.
Most of my art is improvisational like a “visual dance,” as someone once said. I like that, although that’s not all it is. Process, incident, and intuition sustain me.
Making a mark is one way of affirming one’s presence and connecting to the great web of life that exists in the here and now. People do stranger things to survive, but not by much, I’m thinking. There’s a story attributed to Matisse, who said that he wanted his work to make the viewer feel at peace when he came home after a hard day – not an unworthy goal.
En plein air