Artist's Statement

After a Fine Art education at CCAC, and some years trying to find a personal expression, I was moved to portray people sitting on park benches emerging from patterns of dark and light, reading, sitting, talking, and just existing.  These rather large paintings may seem brooding and dark at times, possibly because my vision was being altered by early onset cataracts, and detail and color were eluding me. The resulting large works of mostly dark brown abstract patterns with suggestions of figures are what follow here.  The people I was drawn to portray were themselves drawn to public parks in San Francisco in the 50’s and 60’s.  Most seemed older, of retirement age, perhaps lonely, and all had a kind of dignity.  They wore hats, they dressed up. The men wore ties. Many read newspapers, and met other people like themselves to visit with.  For some reason these people and this setting stirred something in me.  Perhaps it was their need to have a place to congregate instead of staying in an apartment or hotel room alone.  The faces of the “benchers” meanwhile have changed over the years somewhat dramatically, with the ever-changing world of street life and public spaces. But those earlier images are etched in my mind and onto my canvase

 

After surgeries in both eyes I had a kind of epiphany and began to see and pay more attention to detail, color and imagery.  Now with fresh eyes I needed to move on to expressions of a more affirmative nature.  Painting landscapes afforded me that.  The human figure as a subject gradually disappeared, and the landscape firmly established itself in my future work. But the important personal style of the underlying abstract pattern and structure of a painting in these earlier works has never left me.

 

The town of Point Reyes Station and the surrounding region of west Marin County have been the seemingly narrow sources of inspiration for most of my landscape paintings. While in Holland during a trip to Europe in 1985, Ralph and I were visiting the Mauritshuis Museum in the Hague and viewing a painting done in 1659 by Johannes Vermeer titled “View of Delft”. We noted that town in question was nearby, and using our handy Eurail Pass, we were able to behold Delft with our own eyes. We were amazed to see it almost unchanged in roughly 325 years. Knowing most of Vermeer’s works were drawn upon his local scenes and subjects, I had an epiphany: I resolved to paint almost exclusively in and around my small town of Point Reyes. Rather than seek other lands for inspiration, I would paint what I knew - the ever-changing weather conditions, the light on the hills, the windblown beaches, the ranches, the animals, the special kinds of trees…...

Like Delft, I reflected, my area might well remain unchanged for many, many years. I had reason to be optimistic. There is an organization here called Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) that sponsors regular art shows as one way to gain revenue through sales for preservation of open space by helping local ranchers to avoid having to sell their land, perhaps to developers, due to rising costs of maintenance. From my participation in the shows, many of the landscapes included here have been inspired by those same open space ranch lands.

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