At the age of three I picked up a pencil and drew my family's living room couch, aka the "Deacon's Bench" (then the rocking chair). Once this experimentation sated my curiosity, I explored other creative activities and re-discovered fine art when I drew part of my dorm room in business college. After finding a business career unsatisfying, I went back to college for art and graduated with a MA in painting and MFA in sculpture, both from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
If I were to categorize my paintings, I would say they are abstract impressionist. When starting a painting I have pictorial and thematic ideas that I want to convey and in the act of painting, I improvise painterly forms. I think my process is analogous to a jazz performer who creates variations of a melody while playing an instrument.
I've studied numerous artistic styles (and artists) but the most significant influence to my development are the paintings of Jean-Paul Riopelle. Riopelle is a French-Canadian abstract impressionist who painted with brushes, sculptural impasto, sprayed lines of paint and, most importantly for my development, paint applied with palette knives - which is my preferred painting technique.
I started painting in 1984 and my first paintings were landscapes. Several of my exhibitions, Landscapes and Vistas (Pittsburgh 2005) and Terrains (Slippery Rock 2015), mirror my interest in the genre. In this show I featured the paintings Rule of Thirds 19, Classical Landscape and Pittsburgh Landscape.
The Rule of Thirds is a 19th century compositional technique to sectionally divide land, sky and water. Rather than divide a canvas into parallel horizontal bands of land, sky and water, like a traditional landscape, I divide paintings vertically with well-defined areas of stripes and textures. Striped area(s) represent the sky or atmospheric conditions whilst the textured area(s) represent the earth and allude to the sky and water. Technically, I paint my 'landscapes' alla prima which is a wet-in-wet painting technique. Unlike a French Impressionist landscape, I do not paint plein air, out of doors, I paint in a studio. In all, I have been painting with a combination of strips and/or texture over a period of approximately 34 years.