We live noisy lives. We imagine we want peace and quiet but seldom seek out opportunities to enjoy solitude. We romanticize silence, but feel that it is terrifying, dangerous to our mental health, and threatening to our liberty. However, among the many relationships that define the human condition, our connection with the environment is primary. No matter how far our contemporary culture will go to destroy its connections to nature, it remains the all-pervasive structure that lies beneath landscape, place, and human history. Over the past several years I have been re-forging my connection with nature through spending time alone in wild places and reflecting back on those experiences through painting.
Rather than attempt to paint silence itself, my work particularizes physical sensations that intensify when external noise, chatter, and endless stimuli falls away. The paintings evoke multi-sensory experience and memory, sensations heightened in solitude. The goal of my work is to create a space that is quiet – but also rich with emotion and memory. Its imagery comes from time I have spent in natural spaces, like the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Lake Superior, Big Blue, Wind River Range, Chaco, Dead Horse Point and Botswana. The forms within the paintings create an enveloping sense of meditative focus.
My paintings live at the intersection of two themes: mindfulness (or quiet contemplation) and connection with nature. The paintings are meditations on the role natural silence plays in personal well-being. I build up color on wet canvas using brushes and small amounts of acrylic paint with thinning agents, gloss, matte, and other acrylic media. Painting is a form of meditation for me; I lose myself in its physical action, applying each layer of color becomes a rhythmic dance that lasts sometimes more than an hour. I work each layer of color until the paint is completely dry. The resulting richness, subtlety, and depth of color pushes the limitations of acrylic media. I have created more than 60 paintings in this current series ranging in size from 14”x14” to 48”x144”.