My first memory of making art was more of an “incident” in the third grade. I had just finished what I thought was a rather brilliant crayon drawing of a green three-legged horse running through a field of red, purple and orange grass. Smiling, I proudly held it up for the teacher to see. She shook her head and said, “That is NOT how you draw a horse.”
In some respects that moment shaped the next six decades of my life as I strive to live life on my own terms rather than doing what’s expected by individuals or society.
I was 17 in the summer of 1960, living in Los Angeles. I had visited an exhibition of de Kooning’s work many times. With each viewing, I experienced different emotions as I looked at one of my favorite paintings “Door to the River” — an abstracted combination of interior and landscape composed of a relatively few broad strokes sweeping over the canvas, causing my eye to undulate between an objective and an abstract interpretation.
What at first appeared to be emphatically gestured brush strokes became a doorway leading to an undulating river, then it would be gone, and swaths of textured color would dominate the canvas. Each experiencing would elicit a different range of feelings from sombre to joyous, calm to elated, warm to cool. Each time I stepped into that Zen river, it would be different.
Later that summer I sat on a bench at one of my favorite places in L.A., the La Brea tar pits. I loved the incongruity of a truly prehistoric site in the midst of a teeming modern metropolis. Meditating and staring at a large viscous black pool of tar as bubbles slowly emerged from the smooth slick surface then popped, emitting a malodorous gas into L.A.’s already contaminated air, I had what amounted to an artistic epiphany — a realization that would effect what and how I would paint for the rest of my life.
Behind or beneath the surface of my paintings are suggestions of depth, color, movement, line, temperature and weight that can evoke memories and feelings.
The meaning is what you can’t see, the existential melodrama. The important thing isn’t what it means but what it makes you feel. It should be the same as looking at a sunset or rose garden. Don’t analyze it. Experience, enjoy, and let it be what it will for you for the moment.
In 2012 I moved to the UK on an artists visa and started to paint full time for the first time in my life. I was able to build a large body of artwork, exhibit locally and in London and share my work with fans and collectors.
At present I am living and working from a studio in North Carolina where I can be close to my children and grandchildren. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you would like to visit me in the studio.