Five standout artists to keep your eye on
Bringing life to a canvas is my way of communicating what I cherish about where I live and what inspires me to see my surroundings. Shapes and color on a canvas evoke a sense of a time and place that caused me to pause and take notice. A notable landscape, a soaring bird, or even a memory can spark the process of capturing these events through imagery. My inspiration comes from opening my eyes and pausing to reflect upon the wonder and the beauty of a life fulfilled.
Picasso has always been a major influence in my thinking process. Visits to the recent Picasso sculpture retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City are reflected in this work. My favorite pieces in the exhibition were the models he submitted for a memorial to poet Guillaume Apollinaire in 1962. These simplified the forms to gestures, movement, and patterns that cast wonderful shadows. Picasso’s work flows freely. He often used found objects as a starting point, as do I. I’m building structure with patterns, gesture, and rhythms—always paying attention to the movement of the shadow and how it changes in varied light. In Line in Motion II, the lines morph to gestural circles flowing with a universal appeal. Stainless steel allows great freedom to create structure. I have fabricated figurative forms from mild steel, but my recent sculptures constructed in stainless steel have a clean look and are essentially permanent. The great strength and flexibility of this type of metal also allows for nearly unconstrained design. Weaving together pattern, shape, and space in order to create rhythm is my goal in these works.
I first started painting seagulls on Fish Beach on Monhegan, the island where I live. I was looking for something to paint, and these gulls were just staring at me, so I began doing “life sketches” of them. They wouldn’t hold a pose for long, so I’d start another, and before long I’d have 7 to 10 seagulls on the canvas. It became a dance, requiring my full attention as I looked for the repeat pose in each of my sketches to get more information. Afterward, I would feel exhilarated, like I had formed some kind of connection with these creatures. Monhegan offers lots of inspiring views and subjects; this is just one of them.
The passing of time intrigues me as a painter, particularly how so much in life never seems to change. Nostalgia is a powerful state of mind that tugs at our emotions and imaginations. I work mostly from photographs I have collected over my lifetime— from as far back as the 1950s. My favorites are those taken on our rustic family trips to the Adirondacks. As I have aged I have intermingled these snapshots with photos of my own children and grandchildren growing up here in rural Maine. These images are scattered all over my studio, and when I study them it feels almost like magic how the decades blend together. In my paintings I have tried to capture the essence of constancy in our long lives and also the universality of what it is that makes us most happy. Using bold, colorful forms, repeated patterns, and natural textures I seek to evoke a sense of simplicity, harmony, and belonging. Figures and wildlife fit together like puzzle pieces. It is often the small, unnoticed moments that show up in my work. It is in these small moments, in this beautiful place, that I could stay forever.
I live and paint in Kittery Point, at Maine’s southernmost tip. Most of my paintings are Maine landscapes. These can be complex compositions or simple ones, like my beach series. What I’m after is to capture the emotional feeling I get from the nature around me.