About Me

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
- Andre Gide

Although I took art classes in high school and college, I did not really begin painting until I left military service in 1985. Since then, I have discovered that I paint in sporadic periods of time based upon location, time, and life’s twists and turns.

By trade, most of my time goes into somewhat creative, but largely dispassionate computer-related challenges. Art helps remind me of who I am as opposed to who I must appear to be, and this sort of mental pullback is critical in long-term undercover work.

Most of my paintings are abstract, and are more personal and intimate than I am usually comfortable with. There are probably many reasons for this, but one of the main ones is certainly that I like painting that which I have to work to understand fully.

Painting in the abstract is to the eyes somewhat how poetry is to the ear. The more effort you put into seeing the more you see, much as it is when we walk through the woods, or on a larger scale live our lives.

I currently reside in Virginia, a nice place that is not my first and far from my last choice of places to call home. I paint as often as I can.

My Philosophy

“Painting is a blind man's profession. He paints not what he sees, but what he feels, what he tells himself about what he has seen.” - Pablo Picasso

Virtually all my work could be categorized as abstract, and I am very comfortable with that. I feel that art of any sort is inherently abstract to a degree, from the near photographic to the completely abstract to the point that it defies comprehension.

If art is all about seeing and I believe that it is, it is therefore, in a sense, an attempt to show another what we are seeing or, more importantly, how we are seeing it.

In this sense, abstract art is intensely personal - almost like pulling a chunk from your soul and holding out in the sunlight to watch it wriggle, twist, and grow or die. It is in this space that I feel comfort because of the risk associated with it.

What stares back at you off the canvas is not always what you were planning on putting there, which makes the painting a journey of exploration. It is this journey that you capture and then share, perhaps with just yourself, a trash can, a close friend, or perhaps even am audience of sorts.

From a very well done explanation of abstract art, “Understanding Abstract Art” by Harley Hahn, in summary, my goal as the artist is to “create a painting that is rendered so skillfully that, when you look at it, what you see actually changes what you feel at an unconscious level.”

Your challenge as the viewer “is to clear your conscious mind of thoughts and preconceptions in order to allow yourself to be influenced by what you are seeing. This means that, if you are to truly appreciate a work of art, you must be willing to let yourself go, to put yourself in the hands of the artist”.

My Equipment

"One mind, any weapon." - Hunter B. Armstrong

I am not someone to get bound up in the tools and equipment. I have fond memories of team mates and arguments over the Gerber Mark II vs. the latest Randall Combat Knife. It has long been my steadfast belief that it is not the blade that was the critical component. Back then, I was determined that I would not become religious about the tools of the trade and simply follow a very “mission dictates” approach with regards to availability, quality and practicality.

That being said, I have a strong appreciation for the mystic nature that closely-held tools seem to foster. I will forge my own equipment whenever possible and practical - be it dagger, pen, or canvas - and work to make it mine. I am going to ask that tool to work with me in projecting myself through it to accomplish the task at hand. This is a measured process, perhaps best presented simply in such films as Conan the Barbarian (the secret of steel) and Electric Dreams (where the music comes from). I came to this perspective largely as a result of my very early encounter with Zen through such books as Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, and Zen and the Art of Archery.

More specifically in terms of painting, I generally like to work as close to the canvas as I can get with finger, brush, pencil, and pen. I like to work on wood, stone, and paper, and I like to work with oil pastels, charcoal, colored pencil, and marker, all of which I paint into something that springs forth as mixed media. Mostly, it is a matter of getting out of the way of the ink.

I have no devout brand loyalty and use what I can afford and appreciate and do the best with it that I can. I do admit when I have a strong preference, it is hard to accept substitutes.