Nature, natural science, geography, cartography, and a childlike sense of wonder are recurring themes and elements in my work. The natural world always inspires and nourishes my intrinsic curiosity. Through hiking, climbing, canoeing, kayaking, or orienteering, I am most in my element when discovering and navigating new natural environments.
Painting landscapes is the most effective way for me to communicate experiences in nature, using colour and brushstrokes as my vocabulary. In painting these scenes, I hope to transport the viewer to these discoveries and instill in them a similar sense of awe and reverence for what I've encountered there.
My hope will always be for the work to continually grow and expand as do my thoughts and ideas over time.
Many of the latest paintings are the result of a 2019 artist-in-residency with BiotaNB—a biological inventory project run by the New Brunswick Museum that involves collecting data and samples from New Brunswick protected natural areas over a 20-year span. BiotaNB 2019 involved exploring natural areas around Kennedy Lakes in North-Central NB. Some of the works are also the result of exploring Shae Lake Nature Preserve near Plaster Rock. Each year, BiotaNB offers artists the opportunity to work alongside the scientists in the project to express their findings in artistic form.
I enjoy working in different media, and painting is much freer than etching, which takes much thought and preplanning to work with, or get around, the technical limitations and challenges. But painting, to me, almost plans itself as I sit on location. So much happens as I sit there, with weather, bugs, things growing, shadows moving, that I feel that I am working with the subject that I’m painting. Even with oils that are too big to paint on location, I draw a detailed sketch that helps me get the feel of what it was like being there.
Much of what I paint is just around my house – looking out the window at breakfast , or something I see on the way in to town. Sometimes, I’m hit over the head with an image that I just must paint, or sometimes I see the same thing over and over and then suddenly I’m seeing it in a different way, and what I see is full of meaning, significance and beauty. I try to recreate that “seeing”, revealing the truth, unity and coherence of everyday life.
One of my favourite artists, David Milne, once said, “Feeling is the power that drives art. There doesn’t seem to be a more understandable word for it, though there are others that give something of the idea: aesthetic emotion, quickening, bringing to life. Or call it love, not love of man or woman or home or country or any material thing, but love without an object- intransitive love.”