I paint to tell the story of an experience or an event. My paintings are derived directly from the emotional connection that I have with the outdoors, wildlife, and sometimes even structures. My subject matter may span from a hike in the Canadian Rockies, to a historic hockey arena torn down for a parking lot, to wildlife that may not be here for future generations. I am an ardent outdoors enthusiast, and enjoy painting landscapes en plein air while listening to a flowing stream and smelling the sweet scent of wildflowers. Because of this, I prefer to live in smaller towns which gives me the opportunity to be immersed in the natural environment that I am painting. In this regard, I feel a kinship to the Canadian Group of Seven, who immersed themselves in their environment and used their paintings to document the wild northern wilderness of Canada. Being an avid rock climber, I also get to see the world from a different lens which inspires the subject matter of my paintings. I will often find myself in a breathtaking environment with old growth pine and birch trees, placid bodies of water, imposing mountains, or rolling hills, looking to paint that certain scene that catches my eye.
I feel it is important for me to document my experience due to the enormous environmental changes happening in the world today, resulting in a loss of land, melting ice caps, clear cutting of forests, and urban sprawl. The next generation may not be able to interact with the great outdoors in the same way that I can, and I want my paintings to give future generations the perspective and insight that is unique to my experiences, my thoughts, and my vision. I strive to create a record of the world that I see and to interpret the connection I have with that natural world. That is what I am striving to accomplish with my current work.
When I am painting, whether outdoors or in a studio environment, I am also experiencing self-exploration. I take my feelings of fear, happiness, frustration and love and put that into my painting. I find that it allows me to see beauty in all of the imperfection, both in the environment and in myself.
I want to paint something that is imperfect but beautiful. When I construct my paintings I am very conscious of the elements around me. I look for broken gnarly worm eaten trees, rusted old tractors, broken down barns or old abandoned buildings. For me, an imperfect object is telling the story of itself; it's good and bad times, who might have lived in that building, or how a forest fire raged through it's immense expanse. Perfect new objects don't yet have a story to tell.
I use color liberally in my work. When selecting a subject to paint, I envision many colors in the objects. I search for, and I add, as many colors as needed to enhance the mood of the painting for the viewer. Colors can give a painting feeling; happy or sad, love or hate, excitement or fear; and when I do my paintings, I keep in mind of how I want my audience to feel when they observe my art. When I'm painting outdoors, I feel alive and excited to be there, so I might use a bright popping red brushstroke near the end of the painting to impart to the viewer that same feeling I have when in the outdoors.
My work is neither hyper realistic nor abstract. My background in traditional animation has influenced my understanding of how to depict movement. Using loose, rough strokes of the brush, within the landscapes, I can depict movement such as the rustling of tree leaves in the wind, the rushing of river rapids, or the flapping of a bird's wings. Using this experience in traditional animation, within my paintings, offers the viewer the unique experience of seeing movement in a normally static painting.