Saturday, January 06, 2007

autumn study

This is a study for a larger piece that I am painting for my longtime art dealer in Ohio, Michael Orr. Michael "discovered" me, so to speak, and was the first to steadily sell my work and offer me a one-person show. He has been a very significant figure in my life and career and his unwavering support has been essential to my growth. The image is from his property and we have always discussed a possible piece, so now I am finally painting it! I love the deep black tones in the bark of trees in the fall against the bright white of the sky.

Friday, January 05, 2007

trestle at dusk

This image is from a beautiful twilight walk we took this week at Shelby Park, a beautiful park near my house. There is a "greenway" that passes through a wetland area and the trail winds along the Cumberland River, so there is always plenty of wildlife to see in this little oasis from the urban life. Shelby Park is full of twisting one-way roads and can be difficult to navigate, even for the locals! We have always used the towering train trestle as the landmark for finding the greenway, its huge steel structure providing the gateway from the man-made world of the city into the brief escape to the meadows and woods.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

lost farm study

Today I began work on what will be my largest landscape painting to date. I was selected last spring to exhibit in the Arts at the Airport program here in Nashville, a public art program which allows 16 artists per year to exhibit in designated spaces at the Nashville International Airport. My exhibit will hang in June of 2007, but I began working on the project last summer.

I photographed a 248-acre farm that was for sale in a rapidly developing area near Nashville. This area, like many other metropolitan areas, is experiencing the loss of farmland in suburban areas as more housing and retail developments "sprawl" across the landscape. My work has always dealt with the landscape as an untouched subject, with little evidence of human intereference. For this project, I decided to represent on a large scale a piece of local land that will soon (inevitably, it seems!) be lost to the bulldozers. The final piece will measure 5'x 15', but this piece is a small study of a detail of the image.

Perhaps it was a sign that on the day I photographed the farm, both a red-tailed hawk and a deer came to "visit" me while I was shooting.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


For some reason this week, the word "inseeing" has been appearing almost daily. Yet another one of those occurrences when one learns a new word and then hears it repeatedly! I first came across it when reading an excerpt of Rainer Maria Rilke wherein he discusses "inseeing" a dog and entering into the center of its being, to the place where God would rest after creating it and "know that it was good." I also heard it mentioned by Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith in passing, and again came across the concept while reading Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth" as he discusses how looking deeply into a simple object like a stone or flower without labels allows the sense of awe to arise within. As I was reading this, I immediately felt a kinship with that process, because I experience that as an artist every day. I was amazed to find as I continued reading that Tolle had made the same connection with the visual arts, using Van Gogh's chair painting as an example of elevating what most consider to be an everyday object into an image that sold for millions.

This piece is a response to the idea that by closely studying and entering into the spirit of an object, we gain a more compassionate understanding. The stones are from the Walhonding river in Ohio where I grew up.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

muted woods

Sometimes I am amazed at how much color there is in the woods in winter...all the color that is hidden in the constant green of spring and summer is finally noticeable in the moss, rock, dry leaves, and deep bark of the cold season. For the person who looks deeply, there is actually more to see when the world is asleep.

Monday, January 01, 2007

winter beach

This image is from the shore of Percy Priest Lake in Long Hunter State Park, which has always been a favorite place to draw inspiration for paintings. On a hike this weekend, I noticed that the lake had been drawn low for the winter, leaving a barren area between the woods and the water's edge. Although during the rest of the year this rocky "beach" is submerged, winter exposes its secrets, revealing mysteries and textures that could only be experienced in this solitary season.