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If asked what the major influences on my work have been thus far, I would have to start with growing up in Florida and my delight in the play of strong light on water, on faded pink stucco buildings, on groves of palm trees and rampant tropical plant life. Then I would have to add the two years I lived in Italy after finishing art school, where I discovered Giotto, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Carpaccio , and the Sienese painters. A greater appreciation of architecture and food came into play here as well. And then there is my love of travel and literature, which are closely related, as reading is just another way of traveling.
I’m a seventh generation Floridian and still spend a great part of the year painting there. I work in watercolor on site and then use these as aids in color and composition for my larger oil paintings. Some of the watercolors work on their own; I don’t try to replicate them in oil as they would lose their transparency and magic. The oils are painted on wood panels. I like to build up the paint with wax medium so that it sometimes resembles icing on cake. This works particularly well in food paintings. For the last few years, I’ve been using a long horizontal format as this shape lends itself well to a visual narrative.
The Open Book series was inspired by the story "The Book," by Bruno Schultz from the collection of short stories, Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass.
"Sometimes my father would wander off and leave me alone with The Book; the wind would rustle through its pages and the pictures would rise. And as the windswept pages were turned, merging the colors and shapes, a shiver ran through the columns of text, freeing from among the letters flocks of swallows and larks. Page after page floated in the air and gently saturated the landscape with brightness. At other times, The Book lay still and the wind opened it softly like a huge cabbage rose; the petals, one by one, eyelid under eyelid, all blind, velvety, and dreamy, slowly disclosed a blue pupil, a colored peacock’s heart, or a chattering nest of hummingbirds."
The act of painting is, among other things, about getting to the essence of an idea, an emotion, a memory, a moment. It is also a celebration of the physicality of paint itself and color next to color, pattern next to pattern, shape next to shape. It's an exploration into a dream world with trails marked by other painters showing the paths they have traveled.
This latest body of work, The Nature of Things, includes elements form Byzantine, Pompeian, Sienese, and Mughal paintings and frescoes which have helped me find my way into the nature of these birds and landscapes, architecture and still life.
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