I was born and raised North of Detroit in a rural town surrounded by nature and a rich exposure to four seasons. Water was an abundant resource and I could walk in any direction and see a running brook, a river, a pond or a lake which all provided a playground for curiosity and pleasure. Water was only a part of a sensuous experience of sights, sounds, smell and feelings that come from an emerging spring with the arrival of birds and the color of tulips; a radiating summer day, lush with green vistas and skies with billowing clouds on a welcomed hot afternoon; the smell of autumn leaves burning on neighboring streets that rustled under my feet as the lush greens of summer gave way to golden tones and the harvest of an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Winter was brilliant and white, cold and crisp, I hear the sounds of walking on fresh snow or over a frozen pond while the bright blue skies overhead were interrupted by thin streaking clouds allowing the warmth of the sun to shine through.
My natural environment was just as rich as my cultural environment. Detroit was the powerhouse of automobile design but the engine of cultural arts were abundant in music from the 60’s and 70’s that bridged racial barriers, architecture and art that epitomized the adventure of the Midwest and design was abundant. I displayed a talent for drawing and painting at a young age and by the time I was ten I was enrolled in college level art courses in painting and sculpture. Fine art became an obsession and it provided an outlet for expressing my experiences with nature and culture through paintings and drawings of landscapes, architecture, musicians, objects and automobiles. I left Michigan to pursue a degree in architecture from Kansas State University and upon completion I moved to Chicago to establish my practice in architecture while continuing to paint and sculpt. After five years in Chicago I moved to Baltimore to establish a practice. I studied watercolor painting under Fritz Briggs and portrait painting under Ann Didusch Schuler at the Schuler School – two remarkable painters. The fine arts have been my passion, vocation and interest for over 40 years and I feel at ease moving from the design of a small object, a building, a sketch, a large painting or a moving sculpture. My paintings are an expression my disciplines and experiences.
“Remember, a line cannot exist alone; it always brings a companion along. Do remember that one line does nothing; it is only in relation to another that it creates a volume.” – Henri Matisse
My geometric abstractions are inspired by experiences and nature and sometimes just for the pure understanding of form. I am more interested in how a painting feels rather than what it represents. I use a limited palette of color intentionally so that line work and form are easier to understand. Very few artist have explored the line as an element of and an expression of art through painting since the end product remains two dimensional. A line is significant to me. I have devoted the past 40 years to expressing and interpreting the meaning of a line. It can be simple, beautiful and meaningful and yet complex, course and arbitrary. A line on a piece of paper can represent a depth of ten feet or height of ten stories. A line may look straight in one dimension yet in another dimension it may undulate in multiple lengths.
My paintings are not meant to be compositions within the four corners of a painting – yet a window in which we are viewing a composition created by lines and color. I ground the base for my paintings with an abstract expression of color and texture which provides the background and basis for the line work overlay. The composition of my geometric abstraction paintings are intuitive and rooted in elements that inspire me. Line work provides shape to the painting and becomes the basis for the composition yet it must work together with the abstract ground – creating this subtle contrast and dialog between an informal background and a formal overlay. This contrast is important to me to create beauty and synergy in the same way that we are connected to each other and to nature – we are separate yet similar. We create beauty and harmony when we find a way to blend opposing expressions.
“A line is a visual trail of energy that has been drawn across a surface, and is a manifestation of the life energy of the person that made it.”- Mick Maslen
Nature is abundant with color and life and I see beauty in the subtle contrast that provides texture and form – water rolling on sand; rough bark next to waxy leaves; bright hues of birds in barren trees; rolling white clouds in a clear blue sky; shards of ice next to turbulent waters; acres of flat horizontal farmlands ending at the horizon in tall vertical deciduous trees. I am attracted to the sketches of renaissance artist with simple dark and white line work or highlights over a modeled ground. They are honest and pure and represent the intuitive nature of the artist. The unfinished areas of the sketch allows the viewer to participate by filling in the blank spaces with their own perceptions.
“The line has almost become a work of art in itself.” – Theo van Doesburg