When I began thinking about the subject matter of the painting I wanted to do for our son’s nursery, I knew that I wanted to incorporate animals in an imaginary forest, and I wanted to do it in a way that was both colorful and playful. The idea to include a bear cub clinging to a tree came instantly as I reflected on one of the meanings of the name Arthur. It is an ancient name, and its origins are somewhat obscure, but the sources I’ve seen consistently trace the name back to the word “artos”, which is Celtic for “bear”. The image to the left is an early detail from the painting, which I’ve decided to call “Arthur’s Forest”. The piece is almost finished and will soon hang above Arthur’s bed.
The show at Gabriel’s Garden has been over for several days, but I was pleased that one of the store owners asked for permission to display “Clearing II (Fire)” throughout the Fall. This suits me just fine, as it will be hanging among their line of Halloween decor. If you find yourself in Brentwood, Tennessee, stop by Gabriel’s Garden and see the painting in all its woodsy, autumnal glory.
Thanks to all who came to the 2011 Artisan Festival last month!
Greetings! I am glad you have found your way to my site. An artistic vision is taking shape. There already was a common theme running through most of my recent work, but now, I feel I’m beginning to get at what’s behind these images. It has to do with a sense of mystery in the world. Maybe I haven’t put my thumb directly on this mystery, but I do believe I have identified certain qualities of it that trigger my imagination. For example, I paint a lot of trees, but I would argue that my paintings are not just about trees. They’re more about what is hidden by the trees. The deep forest is an apt symbol for the unknowable. Other candidates for this type of symbol are the ocean, with its shadowy depths, and the city, with its receding, half-visible alleys.
What I have developed, and it’s been an ongoing process since childhood, is a way of looking at the world. I now call it shadow transcendence. It is a process of allowing one’s self to get lost in the shadows of his or her environment. It involves training the eye to notice shadows, and in turn, allowing the mind the liberty to wonder what may be hidden there. I suppose this could be frightening, but that has not been my experience. For me, this way of seeing has been known to restore a sense of magic to some of the most dull surroundings. So you can imagine what shadow transcendence could do for an environment that is already interesting.
Now, this method may not work for just any group of shadows, but rather settings where the shadows imply depth. When done successfully, it produces a pleasant state of mind in which there is a certain thrill to be found in the not-knowing, for this is where the imagination is most free. Who hasn’t stared out over the ocean, or even a small pond, and wondered what all was hidden beneath the surface? My work is about harnessing that sensation. It is a feeling often stronger in children, but it may be savored as an adult, also, even if it means using a technique like shadow transcendence.