Tree in Twilight

“Almond Tree – Tree in Twilight”, oil, metallic and enamel paint on canvas.

I was raised to think that art history evolved linearly – a straight line from Giotto to Pollock. I was not prepared for the halting, meandering movement of a career in art, where you race forward with one idea, retrack steps, add something new, abandon a direction and end up end up in the middle of a hi-way clover wondering which way to go. Nor was I prepared for all the things that would influence my work — art history, a random photo, a hand injury, the availability of materials. This is why I find it so unnerving to write grants — “describe your project”. My project is to get from where I am to where I am going without crashing. My destination is uncertain, the GPS is broken, I don’t have a map, but I do know that moss grows on the north side of a tree.

With my Almond Tree series, I decided to go deep. Explore the imagery every way I could, and see where that took me. The latest incarnation besides kicking the sacred cow of a Pollock drip, also involved using metallic paint. For most of my career I have used high quality artist fine oil paints, but after attending a workshop with Vincent di Siderio, where he told us that he started a painting with roofing tar and Rustoleum, I thought, why not?  The importance of how paint “feels” cannot be overstated. Silver Rustoleum is a lyrical medium with a mecurial affect.  With it I was able to add a layer to my Monet inspired landscape, where I was not only depicting the light, I was creating it. In these paintings the surface changes with the light. You never see the same painting. When you move, it changes. When the light changes, it changes. The surface was set in motion.

Funny thing about motion. I started taking photographs of the landscape while I was moving.

“Tree Tracings”, 22.5 inches x 24 inches, photograph, archival inkjet print.

When I decided to paint the same thing, More adventures with paint suggested themselves.

“Tracings”, oil on canvas


“Drive By – Night” 68 inches x 42 inches, oil, metallic and enamel paint on canvas.


While driving around and capturing these images first as photos and then as paintings, I also observed what rain looked like as my headlights beamed off of the drops.

Small Rain

“Small Rain”, 40 inches x 72 inches, oil and metallic paint on canvas.


“Small Rain”, side view showing the reflective quality of the paint.


“Ebb Tide”, 70 inches x 70 inches, oil and metallic paint on canvas.

In the end the paint was able to create qualities that I observed in nature. Each effort suggested a new way of working with the paint, subjects that were at times representational and at others abstract. Trying to write about this in a grant is frustrating. All I can say is that I am skidding on black ice in a vehicle hoping not to crash.


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