Painting outdoors in the environment is a very sensory experience because it involves more than visual perception. One notices the passage of time and changing light and weather conditions. Clouds change or disappear; winds that push against a working brush and easel can persistently try to introduce organic materials like sand or leaves into the paint (and also affect paint drying times). Seagulls and birds call, waves crash against rock and spray mist, there may be the distant hum of a boat or trawler, the rustle of leaves, the smell of salt, seaweed or pine and occasionally the sound of footsteps as people pass and pause. Fog rolls in or lifts, temperatures chill, a sky at sunset can transform from one second to the next. Everything is alive and in motion. Sometimes quiet pervades and sounds soften, as in the forest with crushed pine needles underfoot, or near a glass-calm or frozen lake. Light and shadows still shift, and motion and energy can be found in the rhythms and shapes of organic/solid boulders, stands of trees, banks of snow and reflections. It's through painting the sea, sky, land and weather that I come to know and love these elemental things, and through them, come to know and love a particular place.
As a painter, color and shapes – the visual and the visible – excite me, but so does experiencing the world and nature through all aspects and senses. Whether painting on site, or observing and gathering visual information for later work, I’m paying attention to a small part of the world, my part of it – a microcosm in a landscape or still life on a particular day.
I'm observing, finding the relationships (both similarities and contrasts) between things, and reducing the extraneous to extract what I see as the essence of that time and place. The beauty of nature often astonishes me.
In the landscapes painted outdoors, I’m responding not only to changing conditions of light, weather and tidal waters, but also to my own sensibilities. The painting becomes a partnership, with nature as my collaborator.