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This latest body of work began with a small plein air painting of a summer day in Lisbon Maine. I set up in the corner of the back field, in the shade of the woods because of the heat and put a small panel on the easel. My paintings are usually square or horizontal, even when I paint the woods with all those vertical lines. The horizon is usually about a third of the way down, and in an open field like this, the closest foreground would be about twenty feet away. Mine was a lateral world, but without thinking I put the little panel on my easel vertically. I decided right then to draw the horizon line just under the top edge, and to bring the foreground right up to my feet.

This was not entirely new to me. Many years ago I painted 2000 square feet of scientifically accurate habitat murals for the US Fish & Wildlife Service. One of them is 10 feet x 35 feet and goes to the floor. The shore is a curved line right up the middle. The point-of-view is right down to your feet at the bottom, up to infinite distance at 52 inches.

Unlike horses and goats, our pupils are round. We have a predators vision, binocular, forward, and limited peripherally. We are on the surface of an enormous sphere that we scan with our eyes. Most of the time we live in this horizontal view, although when we walk, run, or drop something, we need to glance downward. We also look up, at sounds, to check the weather, or to just ponder. We see this world from the center of our own personal, infinite, spherical, bubble. We are inside of a sphere on the outside of a sphere.

With the open field paintings, the majority of the space is in full shadow. The world is a dark place until light is applied to it, and even shadows have reflected light in them, at least enough to create an astonishing array of colors. That fact, combined with the compression of extended space into a small area, create a tenuous illusion bordering on abstraction.

Surf 4, Oil on Canvas, 40" x 32" Detail 1
Surf 4, Oil on Canvas, 40″ x 32″ Detail 1

With the water paintings, I am playing with, and inventing patterns that can form on a surface that is at once reflective, transparent and in constant motion. I try to use all of this to somewhat depict a receding space, but also to mimic movement. The Surf paintings are at that ambiguous and amorphous edge of the land and the sea, and as much as it is possible, I try to include the even more ambiguous air between the view and the viewer. This series is only partially about observation, they are also about change, uncertainty, synesthesia, invention, solitude, and joy. 

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