From the beginning I was blessed with the gift of drawing, an intricate ability to replicate what I saw through pencil and paint. Throughout the course of my career I have used this ability in various ways. It has been more important to some periods more than others. While at times I adapted to the abstract trends of the twentieth century, my quick assent to fame in the seventies would not have been possible without this native ability. However, there was a great deal more to it that I would not appreciate for decades later. By the late eighties I had fused intricate realism with broad fields of organization and softened it all with a touch of romanticism. These progressive developments are clearly observable in the paintings displayed in my 60’s gallery.
What is most relevant with my new work is the use of intricate realism for heightened consciousness. Not since the days of my portraiture in the early seventies have I found such a powerful relationship between the particulars of detail and the larger patterns of character and reality of the subject portrayed.
Within the particulars of every square inch I find the same kind of dynamic patterning that fractal mathematics reveals about nature. Namely, the larger patterns of a tree (or any object for that matter) can be found within the minute veining of a leaf. Washes on the side of a mountain reflect the larger form of the mountain while even decoding its future probability. From the large to the small, there is indigenous composition, unbroken though expressed with endless variation.
As I explore the many possibilities for color and light in a painting, uniting all the many perspectives that surround and engulf my perceptions, I knit together piece by piece this matrix of life through its scaling of great to small.
For me the intricacies of realism are no longer the meticulous replication of an object. They represent a minute gateway into small scale of everything that can be grandly sewed together. It is like a Zen experience that so closely observes the patterns of a butterfly’s wing I do not have to worry about how it flies or where it flies. I am freed from the need for prediction on the larger scale of design and composition and so natural order appears without any undue contrivance. This realization came to me first many first decades ago in portraiture, whereby close observation of the skin’s texture, the eye’s shape and luster, the whole character was expressed without contriving the result. There was both freshness and meticulousness.
It took me many years, and this latest series of paintings, to realize that my gift as a realist was not at all the conservative limitation my university professors once feared it would be. It has actually been the key to all of my innovations. At the same time I simply love the act of painting, the medium, and the smell of paint. In every painting I celebrate that love with painterly passages that are clearly expressions of oil paint on canvas.
Through the years I have used all the classic media. My most recent paintings begin on canvas that is primed to hold both watercolor and oil paint. Watercolor is necessary to accomplish the objective of multiple perspectives within seamless reality. This more changeable and forgiving medium allows me to develop my vision in the under painting. Then, through many layers of oil paint and glazes, it is transitioned into a finished work of art. Throughout each painting’s evolution there are alternating interludes of detailed finesse and freestyle painterly expressions.