Thursday, December 10, 2009

December Freeze in the Studio

It's been cold in the studio, but moving around large-scale art helps keep me warm. This encaustic piece is 24" tall x 80" wide, and will be ready for my February show at Patricia Rovzar Gallery.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

About Photography

“ An impression needs to be constantly refreshed by new impressions in order that it may persist at all.” TS Eliot, The Perfect Critic

I have spent a lifetime working on my drafting skills, capturing mood and spirit through line, shadow and texture. I have developed my own hand with brush, chisel and pencil. Oils, alkyds, graphite, pigment and charcoal all play important roles in developing my technique. I can render the graceful bend of a sunflower as it lifts its head toward the light, and I can also reflect its waning days through the strength or weakness of the weight of a single line.

For years, I was embarrassed to admit to even using a photograph as reference, let alone actually incorporating it into my medium. I suppose because there is so much work out there that relies on photography and appears to be more like a weekend hobby than serious art.

But some of my greatest influences are photographers. I have immersed myself in the works of Imogen Cunningham, Harry Callahan and Alfred Stieglitz; and modern masters, such as Andy Goldsworthy and Sally Mann. Through these artists, I realize that it doesn’t matter what medium I use, as long as I am committed to the quality and expression of the craft.

When I draw a subject from life, I am adept at rendering what my eye sees. The camera allows me to see beyond that. When I take a photograph, it represents a snapshot in time. The way the light falls on a living thing occurs in a single moment. The machine picks up and emphasizes aspects of my subject that my eyes overlook. I am lucky to have such an objective companion. But the photograph is only the beginning of the journey.

Just as the old master painters created beautiful underpaintings of watercolor, ink or gouache to guide their painting, the photograph guides not only my hand, but my mind. The original impression is buried deep below the surface—sometimes not even visible in the end—changed and influenced by my hand to create an entirely new impression. This idea of constantly changing and evolving impressions is critical to the purpose and method of my painting.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Future of Arts Journalism

Coverage of the arts in America is being transformed. Traditional news organizations have been dropping arts staff and reducing coverage. News organizations continuing to cover the arts are looking for new ways to do it. Artists and arts organizations are finding new ways to communicate without the traditional press. Something of a citizens’ army has risen up in the form of 300,000 arts blogs. At the same time, our culture itself is changing as people have more access to more culture than ever before. In the face of all this change, what is arts journalism?

To watch the video, paste this link in your browser window.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Concept Sketches

Another small study for the upcoming show at Patricia Rovzar Gallery in February 2010.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Invasive Beauty Begins

This is a small (9" x 12") concept painting for the invasive beauty series. The dark background is a relatively new direction for me, and it's challenging. It takes more layers, scraping, waxing, painting, smearing and rebuilding. Plus, a lot more patience, and ample amounts of trust to create those dark areas while maintaining clarity of color. I went through multiple failures before coming up with a technique that I will pursue at a larger scale. On my workbench are four 48" x 64" panels ready to conquer. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tulip Takeover

"Frenzied (working title)" 24" x 61"

This is one of five completed tulip paintings. I've just started the invasive beauty series, and will post some small studies soon.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Things That Keep You Awake

Untitled. 24" x 32" Encaustic and oil on paper on wood.
Even though I swore I was done with alliums, I returned again to the familiar and recently completed this painting of chives. The working title is "Things that keep you awake at night." I may end up keeping the name...and perhaps I'll do a companion piece in a darker, moodier atmosphere.

Above is a detail from the painting.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Visit to Lynda Lowe's Studio

Above: Lynda Lowe in her studio
I and two artist friends, Alison Lewis-Harlow and Robbi Firestone, had the good fortune to visit the studio of the artist Lynda Lowe. I was initially introduced to Lynda's work by gallery owner Patricia Rovzar, and was immediately drawn to the depth of color, the skilled craftsmanship, and the intensity of meaning as eye and mind are taken deep into the painting, and then brought back to the surface with finesse.

The studio is in a stunning location, up a beautifully landscaped path on the top of a small hillside, with a spectacular view of the water and wildlife of puget sound. Once inside, I felt immediately at home. Lynda is a gracious host, and she brings so much of herself into her work. The space is full of precious objects of inspiration -- rocks, shells, bones, books, brushes -- all things discovered on her many travels.

I hope you have the great pleasure of seeing her work in person. In the meantime, you can visit Lynda and her work on her Web site:

Friday, July 3, 2009

Patricia Rovzar Gallery

In October, my work will be represented by Patricia Rovzar Gallery. This gallery is surely one of the best in downtown Seattle, and it's a privilege to be selected to join her group of important artists. Please visit the gallery at
1225 Second Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Garlic Soup" selected for exhibit

I am honored to have my work selected for inclusion in the Arterra showroom in Bellevue, Washington. Carol Anderson and her team of art consultants are among the best in the industry. The large showroom is full of work by the most sought-after artists in the region. Arterra sells only to designers and architects, with projects ranging from residential to hospitals, hotels and corporate collections.

Garlic Soup

"Garlic Soup" (72" x 36") 2008 encaustic, mixed media on wood.

This is my first really large encaustic with deeply inscribed words. The text begins with the latin for the various species of allium. When it gets to the allium name for garlic, the text becomes a recipe for garlic soup. (you can actually make soup from the recipe carved into the panel). After the soup recipe is complete, the text turns into a quote from Georgia O'Keefe about how people will bring their own meanings with them when they view an image of a flower. And then it ends with some simple suggestions about the proper growing of allium. From a distance, the viewer may not even realize the text is there, as it just appears as texture. As you get closer, the marks start to form into recognizable letters. If you take the time to look at the painting longer, the letters become words. It's really interesting to watch people as they view the work and move towards a greater understanding of the entire panel. Its not necessary to read the painting to enjoy it, but it gives it another layer of depth.

Above is a detail from Garlic Soup.

Friday, May 29, 2009

the meaning of the paintings

Each painting is a collaboration with a multitude of contributors. For example, my eye sees one thing, and my mind interprets what the eye sees in a completely different way. Then the hand takes over and constructs, or deconstructs, the thing in it's own way. And the result becomes something entirely unique and different from the original subject. All the different body parts work with each other and against each other to create the final product.

Then someone looks at the finished painting and changes its meaning once again. I thought I knew what the painting meant. But when I hear someone else put their own words and thoughts and meanings into it, I think to myself 'yes, thats what it means'. And its all so different from what I thought I intended.

The painting is allowed to continue to evolve without my hand or mind or eye coming in contact with it at all.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

May at the studio

" the earth laughs in flowers." - e.e. cummings

Life has been creatively chaotic here at the studio this Spring.

Lucky Bamboo is a large (65" tall x 36" wide) encaustic painting. There is deeply-carved text rising from the bottom edge of the painting, imitating young bamboo growing from the ground. Here's what it says:
"The normal habitat of dracaena sanderiana is the floor
of a tropical rain forest. It is used to getting very little light.
But it likes its feet wet.
Lucky bamboo actually grows straight

and does not grow curly or wavy at all.
Farmers have to lay them on a huge long slanted table
in the hot house, covering three sides in darkness,
one side exposed to bright light.
It takes an average of one to one and one-half years
to make a single 360-degree curl.
After many dark damp days of winter, the sun appears.
Spinning magnetically to the light, her face turns toward the warmth
taking the body with it.
When we change a thing, it in turn changes us."

Standing Tulip, (70" tall x 36" wide) is another large encaustic panel. This piece took about 4-weeks to complete, continually constructing, then deconstructing the form. There are at least 16 layers of wax...and multiple layers of oil paint glazes.

Tulip Canvas (70" tall x 63" wide) is a work-in-progress. This piece is oil and charcoal on canvas. The canvas is stapled directly to my studio wall. I don't plan to take the level of finish too much farther, and I'm currently experimenting with some mixes of cold wax to rub into the surface for added depth as well as protection.

I hope you enjoy our beautiful late-Spring.