Assemblage of sensations
The method I use came to me from American artists living in late-19thcentury Paris, such as John Singer Sargent and Robert Henri, who in turn passed it down to painter-teachers in the U.S. such as Robert Brackman. I studied with William Schultz, a student of Brackman, in his studio for a number of years.
My approach to painting requires that I do not see the subject before me, except insofar as it is an assemblage of sensations—the sensations of line and color. Line and color are sensual pieces into which my experience is broken. I then move back and forth between line and color throughout the process, putting the pieces back together according to my whimsy as I’m carried along.
The point of painting, for me, is to escape into a realm of perception where wonder is revitalized. I open myself to nature knowing it is alive. For example, while I do paint the
To Rest Awhile, oil, 152½ x 121½ cm (60 x 48")
This was a very warm afternoon on Lake Como. First, I loved the warm atmospheric color (with hints of quinacridone) or tonality that bathed everything. And yet amid this warm tonality were bright greens, yellows, blues and orange pieces of color. The energy of color moved me. The painting is large so I was able to use a No. 10 flat filbert brush to put down thick impasto strokes of color, swirling over a soft underpainting. I wanted to achieve a feeling of lushness and vibrancy, the liveliness of nature at the peak of summer.
Pescallo on a May Day, oil, 89 x 89 cm (35 x 35")
I loved the aspect of looking down into one of Lake Como’s many harbors, as well as the vast expanse of the blue water and the counterpoint of orange tile roofs of nearby buildings. The challenge for me was to get that sense of volume, as the lake extended more than a mile to the other side. This painting required about four one-and-a-half-hour sittings. I needed all that time to acquaint myself with the ever-changing subtle colors of the atmosphere and the relationships of blues fluttering underneath.
light, I would never say that I’m capturing the light. Rather, it is more telling to say that the light captures me. This means I must stay in the moment and never think about where the painting is going. The process will produce the work. This is key, for my purpose is to feel larger and more alive so I am able to impart a life to the canvas. I need to get a rush. And if I can get to the rush, the painting will follow.
oil, 63½ x 63½ cm (25 x 25") One morning on Lake Como, I was struck by how the sparkling light of nearby hills contrasted with soft velvety colors of distant mountains. Not having much time before the rising sun would change everything, I quickly...
Captured by a Warm Morning Breeze,