I grew up close to nature in the small town of Woodstock, Ontario. I discovered painting when I was quite young and followed through with academic training and professional practice as a commercial artist. Since 1982 I have called the west end of Toronto home, and chose to set up my studio in Parkdale, on the third floor of the Victorian semi she share with my partner Michael. My studio in Parkdale is only minutes away from High Park. It is Toronto’s largest public park, complete with marshes and wetlands. These precious resources continue to teach and inspire. I am moved by their beauty and fragility and in awe of their powers of renewal and restoration. On daily photography trips to High Park I can chronicle the seasons, the play of light and shadow, movement and stasis, the rush and burble of streams and ponds as they sit sheltered inside an urban matrix of humming traffic. It is this urban-sylvan alchemy that has helped to develop my technique.
Each piece I create represents a balance of nature, serendipity and intention; the same three forces that conspire to make High Park such a boundless source of inspiration for me. Together they are a constant, in the air, the light, the trees, but most perfectly, in its waterways.My painting skills have evolved from timid surface representation to in-depth abstract realism, in part because of a desire for artistic invention and innovation, but also because of advances in the tools available. For example, the digital camera has enabled me to see details previously unknown. Even just fifteen years ago artists were only able to see and represent the surface. Yet, although we stare at the surface with the naked eye, we remain mesmerized by its deeper hold on our subconscious. These depths were once only available to our unconscious. Perhaps tickled by a dance of light; their existence is known, but organically rather than tangibly.
Images become tactile and deconstructed through the lens of digital enhancement. Once deconstructed then committed to canvas, these tiny, important elements revert back to an unconscious whole.Acrylic paints and mediums have also evolved in recent years, allowing representation to go beyond the limits of a paintbrush. In my years of experimenting with latex, acrylic, and polymers I have observed a deep connection to our liquid reality, an existence constantly in flux and mutable. Working with fluid acrylics, I add mediums to keep the paint moving for as long as possible. Gravity and agitation encourage my recipe to integrate while intrinsic patterns and waves emerge. Flow is continually interrupted to startle predictability and provoke entanglement. This process promotes details that are impossible to do with a traditional paintbrush. Allowing the medium to take its natural flow plays against the restrictions of time, artistic intention and the extremely physical requirements of balancing a canvas. This creative process remains fluid, as do my intentions and expectations of each piece until it reveals its own path. Once nature and flow have done their work, brushwork is often used to enhance sublties or add realistic elements.Through this technique, I believe I have found a way to create an impression that captures both “surface” as well as a visual representation of that reverberation we experience in our unconscious.I am excited to be an artist in this stage of evolution, playing with new perspectives, mediums, and emergent technologies. I also see their eloquent application in capturing images of our most primal and essential element – water.