Where do you get your ideas?
An idea may develop from an art exhibition, a museum, a nature walk as well as more subtle sources. My imagination gets peaked by everything from an image in a magazine to a dream. I’m always on the lookout for something that strikes me as visually intriguing, which usually happens when I am in a natural setting such as outdoors at Cape Cod.
Why did you have furniture in your art, up until the last few shows?
I like furniture. It has structure and substance, uses a myriad of materials, a wealth of colors, and it takes an incredible number of shapes and forms. I worked as a furniture illustrator for many years when I lived in North Carolina. I designed and illustrated the editorial section of a magazine that previewed design trends and new products for the furniture markets. I’m interested in furniture styles and like to include chairs in particular, in my personal work.
Why have you suddenly included human figures and animals in your art?
I’ve been leaning in that direction for quite a while so it’s not been a sudden change. The chairs and other furniture have taken on human forms and behaviors. Now the actual figures are interacting with the environment in the paintings. I’ve enjoyed including the animals lately, an important aspect at Cape Cod. I was ready to move on.
How long does it take you to do a typical painting?
I usually have three or four paintings in development. I work in oils and they need a few days to dry each time I add new paint. I don’t keep track of exactly how long I spend on each piece but sometimes they take months to develop fully. I don’t want to feel as though I have to hurry, since I left that pressure behind when I gave up commercial illustration. When I return to a partially finished painting, I am able to see it with a fresh eye and figure out solutions to problems.
Do you work from photographs?
Yes, I take a quite a lot of photos of scenery or whatever interests me, usually when I’m at Cape Cod. I also tear images that interest me out of magazines and file them for future reference.
What’s your process of planning a painting?
I get a general idea for a painting, usually inspired by what I’ve seen at Cape Cod and recorded in photos or from an image in a magazine. Then I make sketches to create an overall composition for a painting. Sometimes I make transparencies of photos and use those with an overhead projector for the initial placement of objects in the painting. I like to have some sort of conflict or irony in the painting.
What is your process once the painting is in development?
I oftentimes do a lot of modifying, since as the process unfolds it’s difficult to keep my original intention. The painting can take on a life of its own which usually works out for the best. If I’m having problems with the overall look of the painting, the colors tend to be the problem. Completing the painting is also a balance between being careful and being spontaneous with overall style and brush strokes.
What is your process of planning a show?
I think of the overall look and theme of the art in the space so that the show will be unified and not just a collection of various paintings. For Kingston’s Center Gallery, I try and think of something experimental in the form of an installation, separate from the work in the main gallery.
What type of art materials do you use?
I use oil on canvas and use Galkyd and linseed oil as solvents. For the pastels, I used mainly Rembrandt pastels but some colors such as red are better in the softer Sennelier pastels, so I mixed the brands. Many of the pastels are mounted behind old windows given to me by friends.
What are the materials of the last 3 images in the Out & About section?
Those pieces are painted with oils on Masonite and then various objects are glued on to the surface. The finished pieces are framed with plexiglass to form incubator type containers. That is to protect the art but it’s also makes them like incubators.
Why did you switch from doing pastels to painting?
The main reason was that I didn’t like being restricted to the smaller sizes of the pastel on paper. Also, with the paint on canvas, I like the idea of the surface not being covered with glass.
What’s up with the installations?
I like to use the Center Gallery space at Kingston Gallery to try and effectively use the entire gallery for an installation. It’s another art form and another way to express ideas. However, there are new challenges with executing installations.
Where is your studio?
My studio is at River Street Artists, Waltham Mills in Waltham. I’ve been there for about 15 years.
How often do you go to your studio?
I try to go every day but it usually ends up to be three or four days a week. I only work there during the day in order to have natural light. In the summer, I work at our house at Cape Cod.
What is your connection to Cape Cod?
We have a house in East Orleans that is on the property where my in-laws lived for many years.
Do you have Open Studios?
Yes, the first weekend in November each year, I am part of Open Studios in Waltham, where I have a studio at Waltham Mills Artists Association.
Who’s you favorite living artist and why?
My favorite living artist is Eric Fischl, a figurative painter. I love his painting style and his way of composing the painting so that I have to imagine the dynamics between his characters. There’s always something not being outwardly said.
Do you do commissioned pieces?
I don’t really do commissioned pieces. That would mean I would have to do what someone else would like and that’s what I did for so many years as an illustrator. I’d rather be free to come up with my own ideas and just please myself.