On-location drawing is, for me, a rejuvenating environmental experience. There is something stimulating about sitting with easel, paper, and graphite stick at ocean’s rocky edge: Tide, wind, rain, and sun conspire to attenuate the moment while imagination extends it.
I have been fortunate to explore the coastal patterns of Deer Isle, Maine, for over thirty years in the summers and since 2009 as a year-round resident, living in Ellsworth. Access to the coast twelve months of the year enhances even my summer immersion into its relentless call. My background as a professional educator for nearly four decades deepens my respect for consistent, focused production.
Sometimes I feel my drawings tempting me with themes of cosmic scope — eternal vs. temporal, ethereal vs. tangible, routine vs. surprise, etc.; but more often than not I am inspired by the simple, visceral encounter with shapes, patterns, textures, and recurring primal energies. Although appearing representational in category, this work is not about rendering nature. By initiating the drawings on location, and then working substantially with them amongst the elements, I am able to secure the leading inspiration for the image.
Shapes, values, textures, and plays of light are all subject to change and emphasis. Finishing the work in the studio enables me to further apply invention to the conditions of mood, form, and drama. I find this is most effectively achieved by working within the grey tones of graphite.
I work best when the natural elements beckon a mood or composition allowing the more specific meaning of an image to emerge en route to finishing the drawing. Drawing is first and foremost about celebrating the wholeness I feel when physically doing the work, while the content of the work is inextricably interwoven with the process.