On-site painting at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

On-site painting at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

About the Artist

The first watercolor classes I took were with noted landscape artist Robert Duffy in Worcester’s “Night Life” in the early 70s. He provided the essentials, and with his influence I continued to work on and off in that medium. I taught English at Holy Cross College for thirty-five years, specializing in 18th century English literature, African-American literature, and poetry. When I retired in 2000, I wanted to pursue painting more seriously. Enrolling in Kat O’Connor’s classes at the Worcester Art Museum was my first best move: she guided me through the basic steps and techniques so that I could understand how to work.  She has continued to teach, support, and challenge me.  Along with various painting groups who encouraged and assisted, no less valued are the steady encouragement and advice of my wife, Barbara, and of my children and grandchildren.

My subject matter is landscape and still life (also called “dead nature” or “silent nature”).  Though most of my work is based on New England subjects, travel with classes with Kat O’Connor to Ghost Ranch, near Santa Fe, NM, stimulated and challenged me because that landscape has such strong, distinctive shapes and colors.  Wherever I travel now, I make a point to sketch and paint on site because each locale has its own remarkable look and color.

My paintings are variously developed, from on-site pencil, pen-and-ink, and watercolor sketches, and from photographs. Most pictures are completed in studio.  When I look at nature, I search for its inherent abstract forms, its color variations and textures. I do not copy a scene but work to catch what I see to be essential there and then create a design that is satisfying for shape, color, atmosphere.  Nature always instructs. One observes carefully, then moves to the painting itself where it becomes its own end, not a copy of what is out there.  Watercolor has its own mind or, perhaps, will, and one has to allow it to go its own way as the pigment acts with the water, which is of course at once unpredictable, exciting, and rewarding.