I grew up in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains.
The Appalachian Trail runs right along the top of the Blue Ridge. The mountains of Appalachia are some of the oldest in the world. I always under estimated the age of these mountains just because they were not as notorious as the likes of the Himalayas. They possess a gentle spirit in comparison. This part of the world is truly some of the most beautiful country you will ever see. The beauty of an Appalachian spring will simply take your breath away…daily. I couldn’t create landscape paintings fast enough. I would be overwhelmed by all the beauty.The shades of green are so abundant here in spring that you are hard pressed to even name them or count them. I often painted a lot of acrylic landscape paintings in spring just so I could paint faster, and try to capture all that beauty before it was gone.
There is no doubt that all this beauty influenced my path as a painter.
I often felt I was living in a painting. I had no choice but to change my major from Environmental Science to Art, and I started painting in 1976. Despite how much I wanted to have a career working with the environment, fate had other plans when I failed to pass calculus. So, I guess creating landscape artwork of the environment was what I was supposed to do instead. Art became my destiny as really it chose me. It wasn’t long that I was drawn to the beauty of Appalachian landscapes everywhere I turned. There is great satisfaction in painting nature as it serves to remind you of the beauty that surrounds you. You start to embrace beauty in everything with your eyes, the windows of your soul. Sometimes an ordinary scene I always perceived as nothing much became extraordinary, and something worthy of becoming an original landscape.
I painted with acrylics over oils when I wanted immediate gratification.
Large oil paintings can take months to complete, and I was short on patience. My focus to landscape oil paintings arrived with that patience after twenty years passed. Painting with oils becomes a journey to your destination instead of an immediate outcome when painting with acrylics. Sometimes I love the fact that I don’t really know where I am going on this journey with a painting. Then it becomes a mystery ride. An extraordinary outcome inevitably comes from my ability to flow…much the way life often flows.
Much to my surprise, I stumbled upon aqua oils about eight years ago.
I paid a visit to an artist’s working studio one day, and the smell of oils was not noticeable. The artist willingly shared with me his secret of aqua oil paints with me. I had become sensitive to the smell of oils and turpentine so had stopped working with them, but I missed using them. I was getting frustrated when working on canvas using acrylics. Aqua oils opened up a whole new world for me with landscape paintings. I could now blend beautiful skies and fields without having to worry about how fast my paint was drying. Your vision of the world around you is incredibly expanded just by the knowledge of your working medium. Now, I would study at length a landscape vista while thinking and seeing how I would blend the colors to create an affect. This is when my journey would begin, at the moment I felt inspired by a scene to capture it using color and form. I have often been asked why I chose to paint one scene over another. It is a challenge to describe this to others. There is a sudden moment in which your soul is simply satisfied with what it sees, and your eyes are content. All the pieces come together, and you see the original landscape in your mind where it rests until you give it life as a painting.
The Appalachian mountains and land are my native homeland, and dear to my heart.
For most of my life I was fed and nurtured by it’s beauty. If any of my Appalachian landscape oil paintings arouse in you a yearning for these mountains and fields, then I have managed to paint these without losing sight of their gifts.