Artist Statement

As my own life continues to grow around the ideals of environmentalism, sustainability, simplicity, and our relationship to nature, my art follows. While I would describe the bulk of my work since becoming a self-employed artist in 2003, as a journey of self-discovery and sociopolitical commentary through the use of male figurative scenes, it has also carried seeds of man’s relationship to the natural world. Those seeds have blossomed in my paintings in the last few years. My move to Vermont in 2015 greatly accelerated me down that path. While my art still reflects my own journey, the path has lead me to the edge of a field that I’m excited to explore. I continue to diary my journey on my easel but more and more it’s chickens, dogs, cows, etc. that seem to best represent my story. The beauty of the region that is now my home, growing my own vegetables, raising backyard chickens and getting my first dog have lead me to new adventures and to applying my bold realism and colorful pastel dust to celebrate the natural world and the animal kingdom.
Me & Huxley.

Me & Huxley.

About

Originally from upstate New York near the Canadian border, I've always liked drawing and painting, but never imagined a career as an artist. How could I earn a living in the real world from something I was using to escape the real world?  This was my hobby, my escape. I was quite an introverted youth art was my 'safe place'. Even though it was my world, going to an art school did not sound appealing to me. So I didn't. When I was young my perception of art school was being surrounded sitting in a class room being told what to do, and for me that was the antithesis of why I painted. Art was and is my way of getting away from it all. It's where I get to be someone or something else, inhabit another existence. Therefore, it may seem contradictory that my work is rather realistic, but believability is the key to good fantasy. When I work I inhabit and embody my subject matter. If I'm painting a sunny fall day, I'm feeling the warmth of my face, the smell of fallen leaves, the crispness of the air. If I'm painting a chicken, I'm in it's head, I'm aware of the hardness of the beak, softness of the feathers. And my goal is to convey all that to the viewer with my pastels on paper.

 

I tried different mediums, acrylic and oil paints, but it turns out that soft pastels suit me best. I first tried pastels in the mid nineties and have stuck with them ever since. Around the turn of the century I began posting some of my pastel works on the internet. I'd reached a crossroads. My closet was filling up with paintings. So it was either stop painting or part with them. The idea that they were going to be enjoyed by someone and not tucked in a closet, along with being able to make prints of them, made the thought of selling them much easier. My male figurative works (under another name) have been well received. They have been purchase by collectors around the world, been on book covers, featured in magazines and two books of my art have been published. Since 2003 my only career has been that of an artist, funny how things turn out. 

After living in Massachusetts for several years, in 2015 I moved to Vermont, for more peaceful and beautiful surroundings, and a simpler life, including raising chickens. This has obviously inspired my art. Along with photographing and painting my own chickens, I've been inspired by all the creatures on the farms of my new friends and the four season beauty of Vermont. 

Though I've never been a huge fan of doing portraits of people, I've recently discovered the fun and satisfaction of doing 'pup portraits'. The fact that dogs don't have vanity makes a big difference.  And I'm more comfortable inhabiting an animal or person who is fictitious than a real one. 


Pastels

Pastels are colored pigment in the form of a stick (or encased in a pencil) consisting of the pure powdered pigment and a binder. The pigments are the same as used in other art mediums such as oil paint, where the pigment is in an oil based suspension. The binder used for pastels is of a neutral hue and low saturation, making the color closer to the natural dry pigments than those of any other process.

Pastels have been used by artists since the Renaissance, however the technique of applying pure dry pigment to a surface is one of the oldest art forms known. The cave paintings found in Pettakere cave in Sulawesi are dated at about 35,000 years old. 

Care & Handling

Unless you plan to seal your pastel paintings in a cave, they should be handled with care and kept protected. Framing under glass is the best way to display and protect them. Do not use acrylic or materials like Plexiglas as they have the ability to build up a static charge and lift fine pastel dust particles off of the paper and onto the acrylic. Also avoid keeping pastel paintings in excessively humid rooms. 

When framing use a float mat. That is a mat that is between the original and any visible mat(s). The float mat will have a larger opening than the visible mats and will be unseen. This allows any pastel dust (not that much would) to fall into the gap and not onto the bevel of the visible mat(s). 

If you need to store a pastel painting unframed or without glass, cover the work with glassine. 


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