Below is a painting called Always.
And here is another recent painting called Treaty.
1. What do you most enjoy about working in a realist style, and what are the challenges of working on realist paintings?
Throughout my career, I've typically done a little of everything. What I enjoy most is the challenge of it. The attempt to make it realistic is an ongoing pursuit and quite challenging. I enjoy watching the work evolve and change over time. What is important to me is the feeling it creates. If I'm working toward a realistic work, I want it to be the best I can make it look. Same goes for any other style. I work hard to achieve what I'm trying to do with these paintings.
2. What inspired you to focus on still lifes for the series of paintings you're currently working on?
My inspiration for working on still lifes comes from the simplicity I find in assembling the objects I wish to interpret. Stills are a time-honored tradition and one I've not worked at until ten years ago (my first still life was a drawing I did in college). Painters think in terms of weight, value, variations on color and composition. The process of doing the painting is always intriguing and captivating. Painting is magic in that sense. What is inspiring is the finished piece looking like the painting you imagined it would be. It does not always work out that way. Many good ideas are never fulfilled because of hesitation to push on.
3. How do you choose the arrangement of objects for a particular painting?
I'm not sure that I choose the objects to paint, but that they choose me instead. I make up every painting I do. I'm always looking for another piece of the puzzle, an object or thing that will enhance the work and make it a balanced effort. At times I will reference an object to make sure I'm doing it as close to what it is supposed to be, but most all time spent is envisioning the image I'm trying to produce and just doing it from memory. Arrangement is nothing more than, "What will I think of next, and what looks good with that?". I never really know what is next. I've just finished two paintings that I painted at the same time. Now I'm feeling lost as to what to do next. But that lost feeling does not last very long because when something strikes a chord, and I think to myself, that will look good on canvas, it usually does.
4. What are some other styles and media you've worked in as an artist, in addition to realist painting?
I've worked in many styles and media, from crayons to trowels and sticks, abstracts, surreal, real, to impressionism. I would like to try sculpting someday. I think the clay would be interesting and fun. But painting on canvas and with a brush has stuck with me for all these years. I've been known to produce vivid abstracts, which at times blend and morph into abstract/surrealism, or straight up surrealism, or to realism, and at one point, some super realism. Painting is an evolving process for me. At one point I painted strictly abstract imagery for 17 years. And then while working a horse ranch in Evergreen Co., I dropped the abstracts and started working on paintings of horses and equine portraiture. The best part was my influence and subject matter were all around me.
Again, painting is an evolving process. In the beginning stages, components of a painting come from the objects and their inherent beauty, and during the process, things can quickly change to more abstract and conceptual ideas. I love doing the abstracts as a way of releasing tension, energy, and emotion, all depicted by color and technique. Also, if I have a period of time in which I have not sat at the easel much, I find that working in an abstract style loosens me up to more vigorous detailed work. Kind of like getting paint on myself, it gets me involved and motivated and messy.
5. How do your surroundings living in Colorado influence your work?
I'm from Colorado and have lived all over including the deserts of southern Arizona. I've found no direct connection between my work and my surroundings. I don't paint in plein aire much because I'm usually a studio turtle and love to hibernate there. On location requires another painter to say let's go there and paint. What I do paint in plein aire usually ends up in the studio to be completed. My all-time favorite artist is Vincent Van Gogh, and I paint nothing like him, yet find inspiration in his work, style of painting, and his life story. He never liked painting indoors and that's okay. One day maybe I'll get that urge to paint in the wind, rain, and blasting sun like he did, but not just yet.