Impressionist painter, Camille Pissarro wrote, "Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing." I feel very blessed.
There are times when I decide what I want to paint and there are times when a thing, person, or event tells me I need to paint it. In all of these instances, I’m moved, either positively or negatively by something or someone I’ve encountered in my daily routine. In my effort to put my encounter in perspective, I escape to nature. That involves simply walking out my back door or making a trip to the Grand Canyon. Fortunately, walking out the back door usually does the trick. Because it’s not grand landscapes that speak to me as much as it is the minutia. Those things and happenings in the natural world that oftentimes go unnoticed or are simply not seen with the eye.
We as humans, forget we are of nature. So many of humanity’s problems are solved every day in the natural world. Or they never occur in the first place because of the efficiencies of nature and the natural respect found there.
I am moved and inspired by every little thing and occurrence in the natural world. From the way all the needles on the giant, columnar white pine in our backyard move as one in the winter wind, to the way fast-moving water in a shallow stream hides everything beneath it. Just in these two examples, there are so many lessons for humans, and so many paintings.
My medium, style and technique are the perfect tools or partners for me to express the similarities between nature and humanity. When I begin a painting, I often have at least a vague idea of what I want to happen on the canvas, but every time without fail, nature is a contributor. The paint and the surface “play” and make changes of their own. Sometimes I’ll see something unplanned but extraordinary happening and I’ll encourage the play to continue, or I’ll see it needs to stop overworking itself and bring the play to an end. In all cases, the medium, surface and I are co-creators of the work.
The partnership I feel with the natural world around me extends into the work itself. I consider the work a kind of translation. With each piece I try to express some part of a lesson I’ve learned or realized from the natural world around me. The lessons are there for all of us, every day. Sometimes we just need a little help or encouragement to hear and see them.