So I applied myself to learning how to paint. It was a wonderful learning curve. The heady, powerful aromas associated with painting took me right back to my mother’s side, watching intently as she learned to render a dew drop or a jaguar’s paw. Photography became a tool in the service of painting. I no longer carried a heavy SLR around, opting for a point and shoot digital. I shot wide and bracketed heavily then put the camera away and took in the landscape. Eventually I could feel my love for the subject translate to the canvas through the act of seeing, drawing, mixing, toning, brushing, varnishing, and framing a painting.
It took me some time before I painted what I could consider a pretty good work, first in watercolor then in oils. Other than a few workshops, I am self-taught as an artist. I am most drawn to the work of 3 primary influences, Kevin MacPherson, C.W. Mundy, and Richard Schmid. I shoehorned in painting between hours of exhaustion at Boeing and time with family and friends. I’m now retired and living in Oaxaca, Mexico. Now I’m shoehorning working on this damn website between hours of joy at the easel.
I noticed a pattern in how I approached a work of art, which I think applies to much of life. It starts with falling in love with a scene. I take some reference shots and settle on an idea for expressing it. That’s the first stage of three, the beginning, full of hope, promise, and excitement. Then somewhere in the “middle” comes a crisis. I’m now disappointed in it, in me, and I hate it. “What did I ever see in this” often runs through my mind. I do sometimes set the canvas down, never to work it again, other than to prime it again for a totally different painting. But most often I struggle through it to the “end” and find a resolution which is almost always different than what I envisioned but ultimately more satisfying. Reality triumphs over fantasy. An important key is not over-finishing in an attempt to chase an unreachable perfection.
One of the most quotable writers on the subject of art, Robert Henri said, “Art after all is but an extension of language to the expression of sensations too subtle for words.” I only hope that I can convey to you the sensations I experience interacting with my subjects through paint and brush.