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There is a deep and profound magic in the light carried by the wind on the water. It insinuates itself in certain people that will respond to water no matter where they are.
I first started painting the workboats of the Chesapeake from the dockside views that were the only angles available to me at the time. Now I spend hundreds of hours each year out on the water with the watermen who have learned that they can trust me to paint the truth of their lives and not to tell the stories that they trust me with. I do not need to bring any nobility to their labors.
Racing sailboats has been an important part of my life for nearly thirty years now. As an actual participant I have more than an intimate point of view that at times contrasts sharply with the standard images of the Marine art genre. This hands-on experience lends a veracity to the un-classical view points that I favor. The types of sailing craft that I have sailed on range from the new America’s Cup Class yachts, the Whitbread 60’s of the last Whitbread Around the World Race, to the racing log canoes and skipjacks of the Chesapeake Bay. There is a real grace and elegance to all manner of racing and working sailboats. The appeal includes the potential for abstraction to the narrative realist possibilities.
I grew up traveling in a military family. Every two years the Government moved us all over the U.S.A. and the world. So, now that I am older, I still feel the need to travel every two years or so. Travel means places like Iceland, Finland, France, New Zealand, Oman, India, Italy, and Maine. If you think about these places you will find that they all have deep and pervasive maritime traditions that still shape the character of each locale. My parents taught my brothers and I that it is an expression of sincerity to study the places that you are to visit and to study them long after your visit.
Maybe my paintings will be better at explaining why it is that I find myself at ease on the water and am inspired when in the company of watermen who do this every day.