I am a fulltime painter with studios in Florida and Maine. After a decade of exploring architectural elements of vessels found along marine ports and commercial working waterfronts, I began this year to paint commercial and residential buildings under construction as well as industrial processing sites. After a private hardhat tour of an historic cement plant in Thomaston, Maine to see the inner workings of one of Maine’s vital economic engines, I was inspired to explore similar industrial sites as part of an ongoing investigation into urban landscapes.
As with ships at port, I am compelled by, and find beauty and mystery in, what lies beyond the surface of massive, imposing structures; buildings and industrial plants which are historic and others which are not yet complete. It is their dynamic sense of scale that I seek to convey through tight, focused composition of color and form. Unlike most who only see dull and dreary elements of utilitarian constructions, I see a range of vivid colors and subtle hues which I paint in what has been described as a post-impressionistic style, using mostly earthy, warm colors. To further emphasize the rust and wear, I use an undercoat of raw sienna which often is visible under the rough strokes of brush and palette knife with the image also extending to the sides of each painting.
Absent in most of the urban landscape paintings is the inclusion of either human or animal figures. I am primarily interested in what humans have built; the awe-inspiring powerful character and tension of interior and exterior spaces. Each painting becoming an intimate personal portrait revealing multiple complex layers, underpinnings and exoskeletons. It is also the very inaccessibility of these industrial and commercial sites to the public that compels me to want to know more.
I am interested in the juxtaposition that exists between old, decaying but still productive towers of industry, and the yet-to-be new buildings that are geared to serve corporations and residents. These symbols of progress in the 21st century and the inherent core of their structures, both old and new – their inner workings – are where I find commonality, grace and power.