I feel very privileged to have Strawbery Banke as my neighbor. I visit it during my early morning and late night walks. These are the magic hours when light is low on the horizon, very directional and theatrical. These are times of transition when the day begins and ends.
My subject has remained the same over the years. On one level it is the familiar environs around Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, NH. On another level, I am still pursuing the elusive element of light as described by Edward Hopper in his enigmatic statement that all he was trying to do in his paintings was to paint light on a wall.
Now with the advantage of hindsight, I can see that my first paintings in the Strawbery Banke series, reproduced in the book, “The Shape of Color,” were panoramas viewed across a wide angle of vision. I established rhythms of moving across the canvas that often brought viewers from a close-up perspective to a distant space as architecture opened up to landscape views squeezed in between structures. Dramatic contrasts in space were accompanied by equally dramatic contrasts between warm and cool colors and geometric and organic forms.
All of the canvases in my upcoming fall 2015 exhibition, “Local Color: Painting the Seasons Around Strawbery Banke,” are squares, a format that has encouraged me to push forms closer to the picture plane and emphasize abstract elements in the representation. Because the square is a symmetrical form, visual movement throughout is more equal from one side to the other. The center holds tremendous power with the pull being equal to the outer edges. Using the square is all about making divisions and setting up variations within the symmetry, showing inequalities and upsetting the equilibrium between the elements of color, form, and light before everything becomes balanced and united in the experience of the whole.
These new works were conceived in a pairing of contrasts between two seasons: winter and spring or fall. Each canvas is autonomous even though it converses with its seasonal mate. These pairings have made me a better observer of the landscape and sharpened my vision as an artist. Surprising transformations have occurred to familiar settings.