About the work on this page
I began painting landscapes as an art student studying abroad in a tiny art college in an equally tiny village in Ireland called, Ballyvaughn. How can a person be in Ireland and not paint the landscape? It’s ridiculously beautiful.
Thus began a lovely relationship. I got to be out in the great outdoors, which I love, making my landscapes, and people loved them and bought them up as fast as I could make them. How perfect, right?
The thing is, my true love has always been for abstract work, both as a viewer and as a maker. It’s hard as an artist to give up a line of work that is profitable for one that traditionally is less so. In 2018 after painting in my dining room for 14 years, I decided to take a big leap and move into a “real” studio in the Northrup King Building in the arts district of N.E. Minneapolis. With the fresh start of my new studio, I made the decision to start making only the abstract work I’ve always wanted to make.
I do understand that many of my landscape people will not follow me on my abstract journey. I want you all to know that I am deeply grateful to you for your patronage of my work, and your support of me as an artist through all these years. I loved making your paintings when I made them, and I love that they are in your homes being cherished by you and your families.
Dutch Inspired Landscapes
When I was still a student in art school, one of my teachers remarked that my paintings looked a lot like Dutch landscapes. I was too green at that point to have done much of my own research and really had no idea what she meant by that observation.
I made my way to the library, hauled a few huge tomes off the shelf and upon inspection I found that my teacher was right. My paintings did look a lot like Dutch paintings. But why would that be so? And that began what has become an almost obsessive interest in Dutch culture, particularly 17th century Dutch culture.
One could easily say I have strayed quite a bit from my initial query with most of my research, but to that end I have come up with a half-baked explanation for why the work of a Minnesota artist might look like that of a Dutch one. There are obvious things like; both Netherlands and Minnesota are northern, flat and agricultural. But there's a more interesting bit as well. The Netherlands is famous among painters for its very particular quality of light, aptly called, "Dutch Light".
The phenomenon of Dutch Light has been explained by the prevalent role of water in their landscape. The Netherlands is obviously coastal, but it is also below sea level and in order to keep the water table at a manageable level a complex system of canals runs throughout the whole country like a grid. All of this water acts like a mirror off of which the sun reflects, creating the famous extraordinary radiance. Obviously Minnesota is not coastal, but we do have our share of water, which impacts not only our weather (the lake effect), but I would argue, produces a quality of light similar to that of Netherlands.
In the works on view here, half painted after Dutch masters, and half my own Minnesota compositions, I hope to demonstrate those similarities.
One of the unexpected, and delightful consequences of the six years I spent in Moscow, is that I now have a circle of friends that spans the globe. One of my dearest friends from my Moscow days now owns a home and 17 acres of land in the Ardeche region of France. In the spring of 2009, I spent a couple weeks there with her.
Lindy would garden all day, I would paint all day, and we would meet up in the evening in front of a roaring fire in her 16th century stone farmhouse where we would drink too much wine, eat way too much French cheese and bread and bask in the warmth of lasting friendship.
This small collection of paintings on paper are the result of that trip, and I hope, do some small justice to the loveliness of France.