Explore – Examine – Express
The diversity of my work is the result of three distinct reasons I take pen and brush in hand. I explore my environment. I examine my environment to better understand how it fits together and functions. I express the experience of my existence in this world both internally and externally. It is only after I have explored and examined unfamiliar territory that I can begin to capture the spirit and essence of that landscape. For me, the Expressive phase is the most creative of the three endeavors. The joy that accompanies transforming my daily experiences into paint is what gets me out of bed each morning and keeps me energized throughout the day. It’s when I am able to distill a landscape, an object or a feeling into its most simple gesture that I feel satisfied with my efforts.
This is not to say that I enjoy the exploring and the examining activity any less than the expressing. My point is that the three activities are separate from, yet dependent on, each other. Unless I’ve explored and examined, I can’t express the spirit of a landscape. I can paint the appearance of a landscape without the first two steps, but that to me, is superficial.
The little dark specks on the right are cattle grazing. After studying and drawing hills, trees, bushes and animals with pen and brush, including all sorts of details of geological formations, plant growth and musculature, I’m finally able to distill the information into a few brushstrokes. This level of simplicity brings me a joy impossible to express in any other way than a silent smile upon my face and a fullness of heart that is only suggested by the simplicity of the painting.
Sketchbook Watercolor Paintings: A few strokes strokes of color with a #8 watercolor brush. Both painted en plein air along Coastal Route 1 just south of San Francisco.