The essential composition of HARBINGER came to me many years ago, and it has always centered on the wasp nest surrounding a stoplight—an omen of something running out of control, a slippage into chaos.
My initial inspiration, I believe, grew out of concern for the destabilizing and immense effects of global climate change, a sense of nature out of control and giving birth to unnatural and cataclysmic phenomena. I realize that it is not the happiest of subjects to dedicate a painting to, but the idea just wouldn’t let me go without painting it.
With this painting I revisit themes developed in my “Passage” series, which featured heavily in my first couple of one-man shows at the Tree’s Place gallery. All of the Passage works use the dream-object of the lighted bubbles—symbols of spirit or unfettered consciousness—to convey the idea of movement from one state of mind to another, a transition to a more open and lighted place; a release.
This is one of a pair of paintings done as an experiment to see how readily my acrylic painting style would work in the egg tempera medium. Both paintings are compositions using the same symbolic elements: an egg, an ammonite fossil, and the leaf of a ginkgo tree.
Looking for subjects suitable for a still life I’ve been turning to mementos scavenged from visits to Cape Cod beaches during summers past. Each one of these stays have their own particular memories, and objects which are invested with personal significance that I’ve managed to hold on to through the years.
When I think of Nauset beach I am reminded of times I’ve walked the sands there in the early morning, wrapped in dense fog. However, one late afternoon a fog rolled slowly in off the ocean, something I had never experienced outside of Northern California. As we sat on the dune the water gradually disappeared and before our eyes the sun made a splendid “fogbow” in the mist. It seemed magical, and I knew before even starting this composition that a fogbow would have to be part of it.
This image originated from an idea that I brought home with me from the hospital in May of the year 2000. When the idea came to me, the only thing I had to draw on was an advisory pamphlet for patients, so I used the back of it for a rough sketch of the composition. I carried the idea in my head for years afterwards and didn’t get around to executing the painting until ten years later.
The cover art for DRAGONWRITER, A TRIBUTE TO ANNE MCCAFFREY AND PERN was originally conceived in 1991 for her novel ALL THE WEYRS OF PERN.
Anne often reminded readers that her Pern series were science fiction novels and this was a scene that she wished could be on the cover. Michael did a tight preliminary called “In the Cargo Hold.” He was ready to do the full-size painting, but he had a dream in which he envisioned the dragons having a conference high up in the clouds. He told Anne about it and she liked it so much that she wrote the scene into her story and that’s what became the cover.
I was honored to paint the cover image for the final book in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, but it was a daunting prospect given the massive backstory of 14 books written over a span of 20+ years.
Each volume, illustrated by the late Darrell K. Sweet, had a similar look and feel. I decided the last cover should retain a sense of continuation while bringing the epic to a close.