Where do you get your ideas?
An idea may develop from an art exhibition, a museum, a nature walk as well as more subtle sources. My imagination gets peaked by everything from an image in a magazine to a dream. I’m always on the lookout for something that strikes me as visually intriguing.
Why do you have furniture in your art?
I like furniture. It has structure and substance, uses a myriad of materials, a wealth of colors, and it takes an incredible number of shapes and forms. I worked as a furniture illustrator for many years when I lived in North Carolina. I designed and illustrated the editorial section of a magazine that previewed design trends and new products for the furniture markets. I’m interested in furniture styles and like to include chairs in particular, in my personal work.
Why don’t you have human figures in your art?
Right now the chairs and other furniture take on human forms and behaviors. Possibly I’ll move into figurative work in the future.
How long does it take you to do a typical painting?
I usually have three or four paintings in development. I work in oils and they need a few days to dry each time I add new paint. I don’t keep track of exactly how long I spend on each piece but sometimes they take months to develop fully. I don’t want to feel as though I have to hurry, since I left that pressure behind when I gave up commercial illustration. When I return to a partially finished painting, I can see it with a fresh eye and figure out solutions to problems.
What’s your process of planning a painting?
I get a general idea for a painting worked out in my head and then make sketches. The sketches grow until it becomes the size of the canvas. I bought an overhead projector and I use that mainly for the initial placement of objects in the painting.
Do you work from photographs?
Yes, I take a lot of photographs of scenery when we’re at Cape Cod and I tear images that interest me out of furniture and style magazines and file them for future reference.
What is your process once the painting is in development?
I’m usually correcting aspects of the painting that need to be changed from my original intention. If I’m having a problem with the overall look of the painting, the colors usually need to be adjusted. It’s also a balance between being careful and being spontaneous with brush strokes.
What is your process of planning a show?
I think of the overall look of the paintings in the space so that the show will be unified and not just a collection of various paintings. For the Kingston’s Center Gallery, I try and think of something experimental and more of an installation, separate from the work in the main gallery.
What type of art materials do you use?
I use oil on canvas and use Galkyd and linseed oil as solvents. For the pastels, I used mainly Rembrandt pastels but some colors such as red are better in the softer Sennelier pastels, so I mixed the brands.
Your pastels are mounted behind old windows. Do you need more used windows for future use?
No, I’m not doing pastels right now and I have plenty of old windows given to me by friends.
Why did you switch from doing pastels to painting?
The main reason was that I didn’t like being restricted to the smaller sizes of the pastel on paper. Also, with the paint on canvas, I like the idea of the surface not being covered with glass.
Do you think you’ll go back to using pastels again?
I’m very happy working with the paintings right now so I don’t see myself going back to the pastels for some time. Also, the pastels dust is hazardous to breath. But you can never tell.
Where is your studio?
My studio is at River Street Artists, Waltham Mills in Waltham. I’ve been there for about 13 years.
How often do you go to your studio?
I try to go every day but it usually ends up to be three or four days a week. I only work there during the day in order to have natural light. In the summer, I work at our house at Cape Cod.
What is your connection to Cape Cod?
We have a house in East Orleans that is on the property where my in-laws lived for many years.
Do you have Open Studios?
Yes, the first weekend in November each year in my Waltham, MA studio.
Who’s you favorite living artist and why?
My favorite living artist is Eric Fischl, a figurative painter. I love his painting style and his way of composing the painting so that I have to imagine the dynamics between his characters. There’s always something not being outwardly said.
Do you do commissioned pieces?
I don’t really do commissioned pieces. That would mean I would have to do what someone else would like and that’s what I did for so many years as an illustrator. I’d rather be free to come up with my own ideas and just please myself.