Why I paint
I paint both to escape my world and to be more intensely in tune with it. For me, painting is a fantasy activity that takes me away from the problems of my job and my family.
While I am painting, my mind is focused entirely on the scene that I immersed in, and this has a therapeutic effect on me. I am able to clear my mind of everything else and I believe this gives my mind a little time to heal.
My paintings are very real because all of my thought and all of my feelings are captured on the canvas. I am intensely present in the moment and in the scene that I am painting.
I view my ability to capture feeling as a spiritual gift. It isn’t something that I think — it’s simply something that I do. I know that the feelings are captured because ten years later, I can look at a painting and feel again, exactly what I was feeling when I painted it.
Everything I paint, I paint live. I do not paint from photos or from imagination. That’s why my paintings are vibrant. They seem to possess the energy that existed at the moment they were painted.
When I paint people, I capture some of their essence. I couldn’t do that if they weren’t there in front of me. My best portraits are of people that I know best. I love sketching and painting people. All people fascinate me.
When people view my landscapes, I want them to feel some of the intensity of the experience that I felt while I was painting. I have some treasured locations where I have returned to paint over and over again. Each painting is a new work because each day is a different day with a different “vibe.”
Many of my city landscapes have people in them and viewers have commented to me that they like the figures and they often ask who they are. I can‘t imagine the city without people. They are always around and I paint what I see. I will capture people who sit down on bench or lean against a lamppost. I do this because my eye was drawn to them for whatever reason, and they were part of my experience.
I typically paint on location for about 4 hours at a time. During that time, the painting evolves in front of me. The sky will change color, the clouds will move and various people will move in and out of the scene. What is captured on the canvas is what I am seeing at the moment, what feels right and what works with what is there already.
I work around and around the canvas trying to keep all portions of the canvas at about the same level of focus and same level of completion. I look for ways to relate what is happening on the ground to what is happening in the sky and likewise ways to relate what is happening in the foreground to what is happening in the background. This means that I might change the color of the sky as it brightens in the afternoon and keep an interesting cloud after it has burned off or blown away because it works in the painting. The finished painting is a compilation of my experiences during the time that I was painting it.
Why I draw
I draw every day. Drawing is something that I do for myself. It is an activity that calms me and helps me exist in the moment. It helps me focus my thoughts and improve my observation skills.
I challenge myself to identify what portions of the scene are essential and endeavor to capture that. For about 6 years, I have been sketching many new urban vistas and urban subjects. This requires me to work faster that I might if my subjects didn’t move. I have been sketching with the NYC Urban Sketchers Group and have been introduced to new places and new subjects to sketch by this group. I also challenge my self by sketching with different media and on different paper types and colors. I enjoy experimenting with new drawing tools and media.