White Mountains 1986 – 1996
The landscape paintings of the 80’s and 90’s, particularly the White Mountain work, held, for me, the power of Nature and Earth. Rarely did I depict buildings, animals, or people. Instead, I focused on the ancient power at “Iandscapeness”…the world in its purest form, before human life.
To find inspiration tor my works, I would ski, hike, and ice climb to what was then, remote areas at the White Mountains in New Hampshire. I usually did several small pencil sketches and, weather permitting, mini-watercolors. Upon returning to the studio I made larger cartoons (often 5’x6’ pastels) and, if the image still held that sense of “power of nature”, I would then express it in oil.
I wanted my viewers to experience the power of empty, majestic, and omnipotent landscape rather than simply identifying with a specific location. In traveling to remote areas, I hoped to convey through my work the peacefulness and strength found in nature. In the studio I was surrounded by these empty landscapes and was tilled with hope.
The first hints of change were from public response to the landscapes. Often I was frustrated because my audience seemed more concerned with the geographical “placing” at each work rather than with “feeling” the moment and magic of a particular scene. I began searching for more ways to abstract the landscapes so as to try and convey the power at the Earth. Large brush strokes and thinner paint became more central to the work.
In I991, I was invited to show my landscapes and an experimental installation on the effects of acid rain at the Currier Gallery in Manchester, NH. The installation involved sculpture, sound, drawing, and lighting, based on a year of research and observation at New England’s dying forests. An overwhelming feeling of sadness and despair about our once pristine landscape led to a series of abstract forest drawings.
Shortly after the Currier exhibit, I received a grant to study printmaking tram the NH State Council on the Arts. This new medium allowed me to push my abstract mark- making and to experiment with etching plates. I did this by printing the various states and then saving them as separate works of art. I could now save my “under- drawings”!
The road was paved tor a major change in my work.