Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Downtown Lowes KY   pastel

How could something so obvious have escaped my awareness for so long, especially in view of all the introspective navel gazing ruminating I do?   I was struggling with an old familiar problem, comparing my work to that of other contemporary artists and coming up short.  While they’re in major galleries with exquisite landscapes or bold contemporary non-objective art, I’m in my studio drawing and painting buildings, and barns, all very pretty and often rather graphic.

I was standing there, letting the water wash away the soap from my hard lean body (Hey, I can dream a little can’t I?  After all, it’s my narrative.) When it came to me…what I want to BE, and what I want to DO are not always the same.   Until then I had never thought of it in such direct terms.

I would like to be the artist with work in fine galleries, sought after by collectors and museums, and receiving national and international acclaim.  But even if I possessed the necessary skills to pursue such a path, that is not what I want to do.  I like painting my landscapes and barns, and I enjoy the urban architecture and the built environment.  Something within me reacts to the elegant lines of the architecture or the gritty texture of an abandoned building.  When I see a cluster of buildings behind a stand of protective trees – an island of a farm  - surrounded by empty fields under a large sky, I imagine the lives of the farmer and his family and their hopes and dreams past or present.  Although unseen, that is what creates the beauty of the landscape and gives it meaning.  I imagine the same in the abandoned buildings and empty storefronts, thinking how they once sheltered the people that passed through their doors. The places I paint are so much more than the stuff of which they’re made; I see them as an extension of the people they served, or continue to serve.  They deserve to have their portraits painted.

From my earliest days as an artist I thought of myself as a storyteller.

King of Ice Cream  watercolor

No comments: