"If I Were a Blade of Grass" (2020 - 2021)
Artist's Statement

In my current series “If I Were a Blade of Grass”, my aim is to utilize imagery, animation, and 3D sound to transport the viewer into nature; away from their everyday life, but still aware of man’s omnipresence. I strive to evoke a sense of calm, with a dash of my sense of humor.

My goal is to achieve this through manipulation of the shape and size of the windmills, color choices, and carefully considered placement of markings and objects within the paintings. My work with sound has been to mix professional audio tracks to create a realistic ambience, including crickets, wind, field grass rustling in the wind, and the hum of the windmill turbines to further recreate the feeling of these spaces.

My current series is based on the windmill farms in the Palouse Hills of Washington State and the surrounding farmland. The series was born after my father’s death in 2018 and my discovery of his passion for photography as a young man. A lot of his imagery was taken during his work as a logging truck driver, high up in the beautiful hills of the Washington Cascades. It was eye opening to see the beauty of the landscape through his eyes, and it served as an inspiration for me to challenge my perception of landscapes I often considered with distaste - hot and dry, and seemingly barren. This is a view I am happy to have changed through creating this series. I started working on this series in late 2019 as a continuation of my exploration into landscape and color. As my skill grew over the course of creating the 37 paintings, I began to have a better understanding of what I was trying to do with color and how I wanted the composition to set off the windmills, clouds, fencing, and fields. I am driven to create art as an intellectual exercise that challenges me, and as a way to connect with others. I love hearing how each person interprets things differently through their own associations to colors, shapes, patterns, etc. My intent for the series is for the audience to feel the atmosphere of the areas I have painted. The heat, air and wind, the dirt or dry grass. I aim to wrap their “little grey cells” in the presence of Central and Eastern Washington.

To achieve this, I start with a photoshoot of my intended subject. I then take the images that speak to me and do line ink drawings of each picture. From the line art I am able to get a grasp of which elements in the image appear to be most important or interesting. Then I translate this drawing into a value sketch so that I have a base from which to pick my major colors.

I will then create several color studies until I find the right combination for the base of my painting. From there I work into more advanced color studies where I pick the secondary colors.

As I pull all of this information together into a final painting, I make any slight tweaks that I feel make the image more compelling or amusing. Whether it be a slight slant to my fence post or a somewhat silly and inorganic cloud shape.

My passion for finding the perfect palette comes from working with my mentor, Seattle artist Terry Furchgott, who first introduced me to the fauvist movement and the power behind color in art - how much can be said with color and the importance of choosing colors with intent. How each color impacts every other color within the painting, from their perceived value to temperature. In addition to the influence Terry Furchgott has on me, I have a strong love of the Impressionist movement and its transition into Fauvism and Expressionism - Van Gogh, Matisse, and most recently, Gustav Klimt, are examples of artists that resonate with me from these movements.