Coffee Thoughts About Art

My paintings are an attempt to bridge the underlying psychological appearance of figurative paintings and the nuances of paint.  I have always been drawn to paintings that use the figure as a vehicle to convey human emotions.  There is something about a figurative painting that possesses a haunting quality to the expression.  The expression that is trapped in your brain the next morning when you wake up.  The traveler/ nomadic figurative subject matter in my work is taken from visual elements from paintings I have witnessed from art history and my restless travels.  One of my favorite pastimes is to ride trains and buses for the experiences I glean while in transit.  I have met the most intriguing people in these places.  Some of those faces are trapped in my unconscious and appear from time to time although they fade like a polaroid from the ravishes of time.  Artists like Caravaggio with his painting of St. Catherine, Velasquez’s dwarfs, Lucien Freud’s self portraits and Ann Gale’s portraits capture this.  I am fascinated by the history of shared ideas between artists who have never met such as Velazquez’s philosophers leading to Manet’s Beggars.  Appropriation is not confined to post-modernism.

The ability to observe how paint is used evolves over time.  It is a skill that needs time to be nurtured.  I remember standing in museums with friends who aren’t artists and they would try to interpret a story or a dialogue from a painting.  Their uncultivated eyes were unable to take in the brilliance of these artists.  I hate when I am in a gallery of Baroque art and someone with me compliments the works by saying, “these look like photographs”.  It pains me me because I am unable to explain to them and to their inexperienced eyes why these are better than mere photographs because they are paintings. These painters tended to these paintings and each action was a calculation of how the paint is used.  This analytical way of looking is lost on much of the population who want to see a painter as a person who is nothing more than impulsive creative lashing out with paint.  This obsession of thoughtful paint usage is not limited to works of the old masters. It is alive today just as it was with De Kooning, Sorolla, and Monet.