When I first painted a pine tree, I first loved a pine tree. Before I painted the tree, I thought “How Inferior to other trees they are!” But in the painting of the pine tree, I learned how it was made. I marveled in the architecture of it.


Painting outside allows for moments of bliss. A flock of migrating waxwings descends to devour the hackberries in the tree under which I am painting. It also has its tribulations, gnats being among the worst.


When I work from the human figure I revel in the physical pleasures of painting. I love the smell of oil paint, the array of thick gobs of color waiting to be plunged into, the visceral application of paint. I scrape, wipe, smear, glaze. Often I have to lose the image in order to find it again. I focus on shape and color relationships. If I manage to capture the poignancy of a gesture or of the expression in the eyes, I am happy.


When I paint interiors I try to capture a particular moment in time: How, for instance, the sunlight streaming in from the window just now makes the silver goblet sparkle.


When I travel, I paint with watercolors. The watercolors are different in tone from the oils. They are less serious. Water, won’t be pushed around. It will have its own way, so the paintings are more spontaneous, immediate and light hearted. I see irony in them. Good things can happen quite by accident, as if by magic.