Edward Hopper once quipped, “If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” With that thought in mind, I’ll try anyway: I started painting with watercolor when I was fourteen, and it has remained my prime medium. For me, the sheer joy of attacking a blank sheet of good watercolor paper is hard to beat.
I spent a number of years living off and on in Italy––mostly Tuscany. That landscape speaks to me in ways that no other has, and it influences my way of working to this day. Man and nature meet nicely there. I’ve never been one to just paint “nature”. Nature for me has to be relieved by something with edges and straight lines; architecture, if you will. That contrast is what informs much of my work, the play of edges against softness, warm masonry colors against the softer lines of natural forms. That happens a lot in much of rural Italy. And, of course, there’s the light.
I’ve been working smaller of late, and I like it. You can just let the art do the talking; it doesn’t have to shout. The viewer comes in close, and there is intimacy in that; the painting gets a chance to talk in a much more personal way, and there can occur a quiet dialogue between the picture and the viewer that is frequently lost in larger, louder pieces of work.
I’m also an illustrator; I do historical subjects mostly, for the National Park Service and the National Geographic Magazine, where I’ve free-lanced for years, interpreting such subjects as Civil War battles, treasure ships, early American settlements, and various subjects found in our National Parks and throughout the world.