My Paintings Are For Kids To Play In

Millbrook 300 10x16 panel.jpg

A white cloud reaching to the heavens builds in the western sky. A fresh cool breeze alerts mom to get the wash in before rain undoes the morning suns work. There comes a light feeling as the heat and humidity are swept away. A few apples fall from the tree and mom directs us to put the clothesline poles into the garage as she wraps up the clothesline. The cloud is near atop us as the first drops of rain pelt us kids. To the front porch for the big show. Something about a summer storm that holds our attention, trees waving, cars sending up waves of water, neighbors rushing to close car windows, others rushing to get groceries in.

Every so often one takes shelter with us and mom brings a towel from the fresh laundry for our neighbor to dry themselves. News of the neighborhood is exchanged and glances tell us kids to close our ears. Water runs down along the curbs to the corner where drains are clogged creating a soon-to-be water park for us kids. There are screams of excitement as we jump and splash about in the gift that rain brings to a hot summer. Drenched, mom strips us to our underwear and we get a wonderful rub down with a fresh sun dried towel.

These memories are what bring kids to my landscapes. Stormy skies, streams winding through pastures, wild flowers waiting for tiny hands, spiders for staring at and running from. They are all there, unseen, in my artwork. My paintings are for kids to play in. Even if it’s only seen by me.

We Train Our Eyes To See With Passion


Mixing a thousand colors and placing a couple thousand strokes in just the right place on my canvas takes a lot of strength and time. The strength is in holding the hand still to paint an eye, or a tree branch. A millimeter can change the feel of a painting by changing the expression the artist is going for. A tree branch can hold the grace of a ballerina or be a lumbering ox. Studying the beauty of a woman can raise a simple landscape to the heavenly place we dream about. How an artist sees makes the difference between a masterpiece and simply marks on a canvas. We train our eyes to see with passion. A couple sharing a meal in the shade of a tree needs the artist to see lasting love and affection when the couple has fifty two years together. We see through our own experiences and dreams when painting.

My paintings are more detailed than most impressionists because I have more of a story to tell, more feelings I need to share. Even in a landscape I want people to see and feel what I saw and experienced while I was there. The multitudes of greens in a field of green, the tiny flowers on the plants we call weeds one day then wildflowers the next. Bees with stingers, look but don't touch, fly about from flower to flower reminding us of lessons our parents instilled in us as curious toddlers. A landscapes is more than a simple painting of the land around us. A grasshopper reminds me of a boy sitting in a field attempting to draw a grasshopper eating away at a leaf. Those thoughts cause me to reach for a smaller brush to add a leaf in just so.

Painting is more than pretty colors and wild brush work, its living through past experiences while being in the present. I so admire artists who can be so loose and so energetic with their paintings. They inspire me. Yet, when I try to be like them my own experiences flood in and the small brushes come out.

I haven’t found that grasshopper I started on again yet, but some day.