While hiking in the North Cascades last September, I emerged from the woods onto the banks of the Skagit River, onto a beach covered in beautiful river stones. The Skagit is the largest and most biologically important river draining into Puget Sound. It is home to a major salmon run, as well as the largest feeding site in the country for the American eagle. The Skagit is also of critical importance to the survival of Puget Sound Orcas, whose main source of food is the chinook salmon who migrate up the Skagit to their breeding grounds.
As I stood on the river bank, I envisioned large-scale paintings to dramatically capture the natural beauty of these stones, their abstract shapes, ellipses, and the energy-filled interstices between them. Each composition is an exploratory tour through its own little world.
Titles of these paintings are from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, and from poems by some of my favorite poets:
“Living in the Layers” – from poem “The Layers” by Stanley Kunitz
“With the Night Falling We Are Saying Thank You” – from poem “Thanks” by M.S. Merwin
“The Great Story Weaves Closer and Closer” – from poem “Over In Montana” by William Stafford
“Following The Wrong Gods Home” – from poem “A Ritual To Read To Each Other” by William Stafford
“With The Night Falling We Are Saying Thank You” –from poem “Thanks” by W.S. Merwin
“Tell The Truth But Tell It Slant” – from poem “Tell The Whole Truth” by Emily Dickinson
“We Are Standing By The Water Thanking It” – from poem “Thanks” by M.S. Merwin
“All The Little Lives” – from As You Like It, Act II, Scene 1 by William Shakespeare
“The Brook That Brawls Along This Wood” As You Like It, Act II, Scene 1 by William Shakespeare
“Sermons In Stones”– from As You Like It, Act II, Scene 1 by William Shakespeare
“In the Running Brooks” – from As You Like It, Act II, Scene 1 by William Shakespeare
“Our Life Exempt From Public Haunt” – from As You Like It, Act II, Scene 1 by William Shakespeare
And this our life, exempt from public haunts,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
-William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene 1
I’m an observational painter; my work is based on my interpretation and response what I see in my subject, as opposed to pure imagination. I’m interested in human influence on nature. I try to evoke in my paintings a feeling of meditative calm, a space the viewer can enter in order to quiet the mind long enough to see the metaphorical bigger picture.