Initially I found a box of partially sanded childrens play blocks at the Amish store for ten cents apiece. Without a definite plan I painted one of the blocks bright red and started George Washington. By the time I had finished his nose I knew I had to paint them all. Since painting all the Presidents I’ve painted astronauts, boxers, baseball players, jazz musicians, cowboys, bandits, Civil War generals, World leaders – whatever floats through my studio and takes root. I’m not confined to it, but portraits from the past are always a little visually funny to me – the hats, wigs, haircuts, facial hair, the space suits! Because these are small works they become a stream of consciousness that I can work through at a good clip, and only when I’m done with an entire series do I see where I’ve been.
Simply put I’m trying to distill the seasons, light and landscape down to absolute color and take them into the unknown. Usually when I paint there is the constant urge to go off the rails and abandon all that I’ve been working on. There are infinite options at all times. Part of the art is in the restraint. This series is different. It has a personal logic that is methodical that plods steadily along towards an unknown, yet inevitable resolution. It’s rooted in the language of color. I have to find a home for each stroke to form the whole. I’m looking for the colors to resonate as one body – to produce whole notes by playing many little notes.
When I sandwich a canary yellow between a rusty red and a Mediterranean blue I’m jolted the way a Dalmatian might when the whistle blows at the fire station. It’s the language of color. My hair stands on end.