Often it’s the play of light that captures my eye, or an interesting arrangement of shapes and textures in small details of the landscape. Sometimes the reward for paying attention is a sense of mystery within the artwork, a visual echo of the Mystery that seems to exist in this life, in this place. I can’t force or count on the appearance of this sensation, which is akin to the Japanese concept of Yugen, but I welcome its presence.
By painting on crinkled paper, I discovered the satisfaction of relinquishing some control to the art medium itself. Printmaking, too, has a built-in element of surprise because the image on the paper is always the reverse of what the artist creates on the plate. There is a constant give-and-take between my intentions and the results of each pass through the press. Chance is my partner in creation, and our collaboration allows the work to move beyond the close observation of nature to create its own hypnotic reality of quiet intensity.
I have a broad knowledge of art history. Some of the artists I return to again and again are Rembrandt, especially his drawings and prints, the German Expressionists, Cezanne, the Surrealists, and Jim Dine’s botanical drawings and prints. Above all, I admire the Chinese literati painters of the 11th century to the present for their cerebral and imaginative approach to the landscape. They also were in search of the Mystery. I practice other related Chinese and Japanese art forms: Chinese calligraphy, qi gong, Sogetsu School ikebana, and haiku writing. All contribute to my understanding of line, space, time, and intuition.