Concepts of space, of Earth and its horizons;
of the density of matter and the colors of gas--
these ideas continually inspire me as an artist.
Although the stories of land forms and atmospheres
have been told thousands of times
and in a myriad of ways,
I think that there still may be found--
within these objects and phenomena--
a meditative and untouched space
worthy of my own inquiry and documentation.
Charcoal sections show the gravity and density of forms and create a set of subtle edges across the horizon. These are organized in frames, suggesting a passage of time as the masses respond in subtle shifts to the movement of the Earth. The surrounding atmospheres are alternately weightless and saturated. I allow some measured lines to emerge, retaining the memory of the fresh drawing surface.
Inspired by Hubble space photography and by stargazing on clear nights, I create drawings that refer to the processes that form our universe. Particularly fascinating for me are nebulae--the beautiful clouds of gas that surround and envelop stars in stages from birth to death. Intrigued by the drama of space events that occur on a scale and in a time that can barely be imagined by human intelligence, I find a center of peace in depicting these moments in time. Familiar names resonate an immense reality in the tiny space of the brain via the mind's eye--Horsehead Nebula; Cat's Eye Nebula; Filament Nebula; Veil, Disc and Flame Nebulae.
I have often returned to depictions of the Carina Nebula, a tumultuous cluster of stars found in the Southern skies, 8000 light-years away. Carinae's dramatic dust clouds--sculpted by the winds and radiation of its massive stars--always yield imagery. That gases are ephemeral and subject to shifts and changes of light, and that the human eye has not yet seen the full range of colors that these spectra can produce; these thoughts liberate me as an artist. I can approach the drawings unsure of the behavior of color as I experiment with hues.
The works in Atmospheres are non-referential. For me, the paintings become exercises in fields and bands of color that may be revealed by the activity of sunlight behind clouds. While Earth's hues at sunset factor prominently in the paintings of this series, they inform depictions of atmospheric activity around distant objects as well.
In this gallery, I show a selection of images from sketchbooks old and new. Moments passed during travel as landscapes flashed by; fields of clouds viewed from an airplane window; imaginary clusters of forest; or renderings of places visited--all present a problem. How can an idea, registered in the mind's eye, become tangible on the page by using the simplest tool? A pen, a pencil, a set of marks, deep space probed with light and shadow or quickly rendered with series of strokes, an object observed and explored with line and shadow...these are some of the problems of drawing.
There is a meditative quality to this experience, as the eye guides the mind and the hand responds.