"The focus of my personal landscape work centers on the declining family farms of Upstate New York and the disappearing architecture of the rural and industrial landscape. The barns we will never see again, the decaying factory buildings portrayed with realism and sympathy. It is my interest to paint with beauty that which is not traditionally considered beautiful. I have a strong belief in my work and in my teaching that contemporary representationalism is not dead."
For the past several years the Landscape has been a continual passion of mine. It is what I teach, what I draw, photograph and paint. The lands of my upstate New York childhood have been radically changing in a short period of time. With development and restructuring they’re barely recognizable. Recently, I was painting one of my favorite sites, a local, farmer’s field usually littered with dairy cows, a site that I drive by every day. One day a bulldozer pulled onto the property and started moving the earth to construct an entry drive for building lots. I was heart sick at the sight of it. The rise and fall of the sloping fields were flattened, the organic forms that moved like the contours of a reclining woman were gone, trees were uprooted. The beauty and history of those lands and their buildings are images that I want to hold onto. Walking through an old dairy barn on a friend’s family farm brings back the memories of generations that worked there daily, taking for granted that the work would always go on, life would continue as always. Now the buildings are inhabited by swallows, ferocious old barn cats and wildlife seeking refuge. The play of light on a stream at the edge of a field, and its effect on the nearby landscape, the forgotten farm machinery surfacing through overgrowth, and the empty quiet of these places are all elements that engage me.
I am drawn to images of solitude, the uninhabited quiet of a site where I can paint alone, undisturbed. Painting in Plein Air allows one to fully “know” their image. Working in the same place, witnessing how the light, color, weather, and cloud formations change over time, hour to hour, even season to season provides a wealth of visual information one cannot obtain from a flat photograph.
During the restrictions of COVID last summer, 2020, it was the ability to have a personal connection to the land and the environment that offered a well needed respite from the confinement and isolation that the pandemic imposed.