Linn County, Close to Home
I’ve always been a realist, joyously observing and recording the fantastic visual subtleties of the perceived world. In earlier work than that shown here, I directed that interest toward still life drawings using Prismacolor pencils as well as full-length figure studies of family and friends painted in oil, both of which received significant professional recognition and inclusion in a museum and corporate collections throughout the Midwest.
Primarily as a result of the whole experience of completing work for an MA in Art Education at the University of Iowa, in 1989 I tentatively directed my artistic focus toward the landscape. My work at the university included a concentration on American art history where I was particularly impressed with the Hudson River painters and wondered how that vision could be applied to my local area. Other coursework included much self-reflective writing with the aim of trying to connect what is important to me as a person to what I created in my studio. Commuting from my home to the university put me into the local rural landscape nearly every day where I watched it change with the light and evolve through the seasons. Whatever the reason, the familiar scene has been the focus of my work ever since.
The paintings in this section are all within an hour drive of my home, in the area where I grew up, where I have history and to which I am connected. Initially, I specifically limited myself to this area because it seemed a particular challenge to find subject suitable for painting an area that looked uninteresting compared to inherently more dramatic places. Grant Wood taught me that it was possible. Over time I have ventured into more scenic areas but continue to find inspiration close to home.