Recent Figure Paintings

After paintings landscapes for many years, the figure forced its way back into my work in about 2010. Now I combine my landscape painting with my earlier figure painting in an attempt to synthesize my two main working methods.

Recent Landscapes: Glade Series    

Since moving to Northern Colorado from Southeast Ohio in 2016, I have tried to understand my vastly new environment. Rather than paint the remote, sublime grandeur of the high mountains, the close landscape around me along the Front Range of Northern Colorado has become my center of interest. Here water use is a major issue. The proposed NISP Glade Reservoir near Fort Collins is a project that offers me the subject matter to examine the ethical and practical issues involved, the connection between nature and culture The Glade Valley may be under 280 feet of water soon so my images are a form of pre-nostalgia. The paintings of Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, a vast protected area near the Wyoming boarder, is essentially an ancient undeveloped landscape and thus becomes a poignant contrast to the threatened landscape of the Glade Valley.

Landscape Paintings: 1985 To Present    

All the elements in my landscape paintings have been taken directly from sketches of specific local sites, but they are combined and altered in my studio to construct a creative synthesis. The six of the last images are, however, from the early 1970s and show my transition from my early conceptual drawings to my early figure paintings. And finally, there are five plein-air paintings that were done in the early 1980s as studies for settings for my figure paintings and other landscapes.

Experimental Paintings: 1989-1992    

My experimental landscapes were part of a series that attempted to develop a method that put the drawings of juxtaposed landscapes into paint.

Landscape Drawings: 1985-2021    

By 1985 the "transcendental" qualities of my figures became too divorced from the reality of contemporary society. This led to a crisis that was finally resolved with these large, horizontal landscape drawings They were all done from life. The 10 Glade Series drawings are of a valley where a very controversial massive reservoir is planned for onstruction just north of Fort Collins, so what I’ve drawn will be under 150 feet of water in the near future, if the project goes through. Each drawing relates to one of the eight compass directions and up and down, and each also relates in VERY general terms to one of the Commandments in the Decalogue. There is no proselytizing content intended, just a depiction of what will disappear, and people can use the drawings as an invitation to consider the ethical issues involved. Some viewers may conclude that the theme here of a disappearing landscape has broader ecological connections than just to the local dam and reservoir.

Drawings: 1970-1985    

These drawings in pastel, oil pastel and Caran D.Ache led me to enrich the surfaces of my paintings.

Early Figure Paintings: 1970-1985    

The conceptual drawings led to painting. It was a pleasure and a relief to use color again. After teaching in Florence, Italy and traveling in Europe in 1973, I decided to try to paint ambitious ideas, even if they were "out of style." My subject matter became figures expressing basic, timeless emotions in a contemporary landscape. My technique was somewhere between Masso di Banco and R. Margritte. I left the pursuit of avant-garde art behind and tried to connect to a longer, broader and deeper tradition.

Conceptual Drawings: Early Work 1970    

After experimenting with Earth Works, Minimalist Sculpture and Performance Art, I decided to use drawing to express certain conceptual concepts.

Computer and Conceptual Work;: 1969-1970    

Using a Calcomp Plotter 573 with a computer and punch cards, I attempted to remove any remaining vestiges of my formalist training as an Abstract Expressionist. This led to other experimental work related to Minimalism and the ideas of Robert Smithson.

Sears Series: Early Work 1966-1967    

As a recent MFA grad, I was still trying to understand contemporary art and to find my own way of painting. Grasping Pop Art was my first attempt at connecting to the current art scene. I used Sears and Roebuck catalogs as subject matter and as a symbol of American consumer society. All these works were completed in Detroit while I was teaching at The School of Arts and Crafts and at Marygrove College.

Student Work: 1957-1963    

These paintings are examples of the few works that I have a reord of from my student years at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1954-1959, BAE) and The University of Michigan (1960-1963, MFA). They show my grappling with the influences of A. Gorky and R. Matta, and later of Pop Art. I was still struggling to understand contemporary art, and I still am.