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In the words of the artist:

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Most of my work is created with the simplest of materials: pastel and paper. Every picture contains a variety of marks. Delicate linear strokes are contrasted with areas of softly blended pastel to echo the range of textures observed in nature. Taking a &

contrarian&

approach to the accepted wisdom of using a rough or &

toothy&

paper to better hold the pastel particles, I usually use a relatively smooth paper in order to achieve subtlety and a smooth effect. To ensure that my pastel strokes adhere to the paper permanently, I literally rub them into the paper. Color is built up in thin layers to achieve a luminous effect. A linear structure underlies the composition, though few lines are visible in the finished piece. Color defines forms and also creates a mood unique to each piece.

I work on only one picture at a time, immersing myself in it, coaxing it along, constantly adjusting and refining it until I feel one more mark would be one mark too many. I do not work outside, &

from nature,&

since I&

m not interested in creating a naturalistic rendition of nature and don&

t usually depict a specific place. I do, however, spend a great deal of time outside, looking at and absorbing impressions of the land, clouds and weather phenomena so that my artwork, despite its flirtation with abstraction, has a sense of veracity. By working in the studio away from the direct influence of nature, I can be more creative in my approach to composition, form, and especially color. Grass needn&

t always be green, nor the sky blue.

Drawing and painting have been a constant in my life since early childhood. My personal aesthetic and love of landscape developed long ago, during my childhood in western Illinois, near the confluence of the Mississippi and Rock rivers. The natural setting of lush greenery, towering oak trees, rolling hills and magnificent bluffs overlooking the two rivers set the stage for my future appreciation of different and inspiring landscapes of all kinds.

My formal art studies culminated in a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the Rhode Island School of Design. There I focused on illustration studies with Mahler Ryder and printmaking studies with Art Wood, Larry Heyman and Jack Muench.

Ironically, I happened upon the pastel medium by chance. Partly in reaction to the cumbersome nature of printmaking (the presses, plates and stones required to produce etchings and lithographs weigh literally tons) and partly to accommodate my desire to travel after graduation &

and travel light &

I decided to bring a small set of pastels with me on my wanderings.

For the next five years I lived out of a suitcase, toting my minimal assortment of pastels as I saw the world and put down roots in a few places long enough to learn the local language, my other passion. In that time I also did political cartooning, courtroom illustration, translation, copy editing, proofreading, window design and egg sorting.

By the time I returned to the U.S. in the 1980s, pastel had become my medium of choice, and my travel set had grown into a not-so-portable collection of several hundred pastel sticks. Since then I have worked full time as an artist, occasionally branching out into other mediums, but never straying far from my pastels. I now devote part of my time to teaching, so that others may discover the joys of a simple yet very rich medium.

My work reflects a long-standing interest in landscape and the influence of light and atmospheric effects upon it. At times, my landscapes have focused almost entirely on the land, with only a suggestion of sky. At others, my interest has shifted to the sky, which becomes a subject in itself. Some images hint at the human role in the landscape, as evidenced through architectural forms, cultivated fields or roads. Others reveal a fascination with cloud formations or atmospheric conditions. In all the images, landscape is a vehicle for the expressive use of color. My goal is to create something of beauty that is direct and accessible, that stands on its own without verbal explanation.

Though I am constantly observing the landscape around me, all my work is created in the studio. There I can allow a deeply personal, more creative imagery to develop freely &

that which is in my mind&

s eye.