“…drawing, for me, is the beginning of everything.” Ellsworth Kelly
Drawing helps me understand the patterns, textures, shapes and structures found all around us. It is a way for me to slowly discover internal and external forms or to work quickly to simply record an impression. The results can either be a faithful reproduction of what is being observed or used as a point of departure to explore, modify, combine, interpret what is seen. Whether it is a finished product or used as a reference source for making paintings or sculptures, drawing acts as the underlying support structure upon which my art works are planned and built.
The “Black, White, Gray” series is a return to my early works which were inspired by the paintings of the abstract expressionists, particularly the works of Franz Kline. Reducing color options to black, white, gray is one way to simplify the painting process, create strong contrasts and discover the many subtle variations possible with a very limited palette.
In addition to minimal color, texture is another important element in these paintings and Golden’s light molding paste works well for creating a textured painting surface. A palette knife is used to apply the paste over a canvas coated with black gesso. Textures are built up and gray areas are created by applying thinner coats of the white molding paste. Some areas of the wet material are incised and removed, revealing the black gesso in contrasting lines and shapes.
After the molding paste dries additional coats of paste might be applied to create even more texture and depth. Thin washes of black, white and gray acrylic paint are applied using a drybrush technique to enhance the textures and contrasting tones.
As the work progresses many of the textural effects happen spontaneously and it sometimes seems as though my job is to get out of the way and allow the composition to simply emerge.
I still enjoy working outdoors (plein air) to produce studies and paintings directly from nature. Over the years I have found that working in both representational and abstract styles has helped me to better understand and develop my creative process
Digital Designs for Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture:
Besides traditional art making materials and methods, I now also use an iPad to make drawings, paintings and to design sculptures. Digital images give me the opportunity to make multiple versions of a single design because each step of the process can be saved.
My sculptures begin with sketches, drawings and photographs. These images are used to guide the process as a sculpture is being created.
Larger sculptures require detailed design drawings as well as maquettes or scale models. Many of my works are best suited to a fabrication process which involves cutting sheet metal into various shapes, then bending, rolling, curving these shapes and joining the pieces together. Due to the equipment and skills required, my larger sculptures are usually subcontracted to art fabricators. As the work progresses my job is to oversee the process and make design adjustments as required.
Intermediate size works are made using metal rods, hardware, metal, wire mesh, plastic, fabric, as well as other materials. These works are made using basic hand and power tools. The finished sculptures will have elements of the original inspiration for the work but are not intended to be precise copies of the design drawings. Intuition and spontaneity are as much a part of the process as are sketches and drawings.
Smaller works are made in a variety of ways. An original is sculpted using clay, plaster, concrete, wood or plastic. Many of these works are then cast in metal. These castings are made in limited editions by a fine art foundry. In addition to having works cast at a foundry, scanning and 3D printing services are also used to make smaller sculptures. The 3D works can be finished pieces on their own, used as patterns for metal casting, or serve as maquettes or scale models in the production of larger sculptures.