“A strong 'sense of place' underlies my artistic expression. My feelings of attachment to, and growing appreciation for, the particular geography, geology, flora, fauna, history and culture of New Brunswick have been enlarged by my interactions with its landscape. My paintings and prints are personal artistic responses to these experiences.
This painting, called 'Afternoon Cloud', is of a typical New Brunswick early autumn landscape showing both hardwoods and softwoods in the foreground, giving way, as the eye moves through the painting, to rolling hills cleared for farming and beyond that to distant sun-spotted forests. In the fall of 2016, I had to make a number of trips along the main highway between Saint John and the Nova Scotia border. There are some lovely views along the way and this particular view stood out for me. It seemed so quintessentially New Brunswick: The screen of trees in the foreground, giving way to cleared land and rolling hills disappearing in more significant hills in the background. Then the sky. I always marvel at the skies we have here, that are constantly moving and changing. My work reflects my fascination with the complex relationship we have with both our natural and our created landscape.
When my father and grandfather mentioned afternoon cloud, they meant that either, “It's a cloudy afternoon now but the clouds will soon clear and it will be sunny,” or “The clouds will thicken even more and it will rain,” or “It will just remain cloudy.” I always enjoyed hearing their never-fail weather forecast.
As an artist, I am always intrigued by the layers of depth in a painting and then how that, in turn, translates into a sense of time. Whether I am looking at an architectural study or a landscape, I always want the viewer to feel that they are "entering" the painting. If I'm not able to create a sense of depth, if I'm not able to draw the viewer into my work, whether through perspective, tone, or colour, then the piece simply doesn't work. 'Afternoon Cloud' had all the elements that I look for when I begin a painting. I always think there is a story unfolding in the painting as I draw the viewer through the painting: Who farms the cleared land? What made people settle there? Where did they come from and why did they settle here?
I'm also constantly setting myself new challenges with my work. It keeps the work challenging for me and for the viewer as well. I have over the years developed a certain palette, a certain way of approaching a painting that is related to my beginnings as a print-maker. But I'm also constantly experimenting, changing the way I approach my work, finding new ways to solve the problems I set for myself. So painting for me is a constant learning experience, full of challenges with the final goal being that I have created a work that viewers can relate to and appreciate.”