For me, art is a verb. It’s an action, much more than an object in and of itself. Art is an exploration; A search for truth, and the product is really secondary to the experience of making it.
In science, experiments are conducted to reach conclusions. The facts are not necessarily known or understood at the beginning, but through analysis, truth is revealed. When it comes to painting, there is also scientific process involved. Each and every detail that makes up a composition needs to be thoroughly studied and understood before it can be rendered. Just like in science, details are clues that must be followed. Through my process, reference photos are dissected, analyzed and then reassembled in the form of paint on canvas.This is how I can achieve a deeper understanding. I don’t necessarily know what a painting is about at the beginning, but this doesn’t matter too much in the early stages. Meanings reveal themselves after all the details are processed and the painting is finished. When I’m in the flow, the focus is almost entirely on the minutia. Layer by layer, the tiniest of details come together to form a bigger picture. This process can be lengthy and tedious, but for me, it’s really the point of it all. This is the realm that I find most exciting. It is where I feel alive and in the moment. This is also where discovery is most likely to occur. If I am lucky, unexpected turns will surface along the way. The most valuable information often comes from these detours, so I enthusiastically follow clues wherever they may lead. Of course, deadlines and other obligations exist, but I always do my best to let each painting determine however long it may require to be finished. Rushing the process isn’t wise and will only serve to compromise an outcome. Instead, I try to remain patient, prepared and focused on the task at hand. This is the process by which I learn. It’s also the only way I know how to operate. Indeed, the work is where the art lies for me. Trains not only facilitate this experience, but illustrate it perfectly.
A functional existence is something that I identify with on a deep emotional level. By design, trains are completely utilitarian. Wherever a train happens to be going really isn’t as important as the role they play on the journey. With time and use, train cars develop a unique patina. This is not by design, but a by-product of experience and is an entirely natural phenomenon. Each train car has an authentic story about where it has been or how long in use. Weathering, rust, grime, faded surfaces and graffiti accumulate and serve as clues to their unique histories. Of all the details that I have processed about trains, this patina is what I find most interesting. Ultimately, it is the most human of all aspects, as it represents life in progress. In the end, I have learned that there is no avoiding the effects of use and time. Everything on earth is subject to this and my paintings are my way of embracing this reality.
An artist’s muse is merely a vehicle of self expression; A “key” that unlocks a door to our innermost ideas and feelings. Paintings are not always intended to be a linear narrative. Not my paintings anyway. For now, trains are where I find inspiration. They are a touch stone to my own existence and the process of painting helps me to understand my purpose in the world. Trains face time and use without any fear or lament. All of us should travel through life as they do. For as long and far as we possibly can.