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About My Work
Early in my career as a Painter, I was most influenced by the work of the Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley, the Scandinavian Symbolist painters, and the Post-Impressionist Masters, Vuillard, Bonnard, and Giovanni Segantini. All of these Painters employed planes of color and atmospheric light to help them create mood and mystery in their masterworks.
In my early years as a Painter, I made trips to Art museums across North America and Europe to study their paintings. Adopting painting techniques from their work and studying their approaches to creating atmospheric light in their paintings assisted me in my own attempts to portray the mysterious beauty that defines the landscape of Northern Canada. Many of the painters listed above, especially the Scandinavian Symbolist movement, were also influential in the development of Canada’s most famous group of Painters.... the Group of Seven.
The beauty of the light that one finds in northern Canada is similar, in many ways, to the light in the Mojave desert where I spent my childhood. Both landscapes possess an austere and mysterious beauty and are defined, in large part, by the unique quality of the light in those regions. I have always been drawn, both aesthetically and in my Artwork, to those regions which are defined by large open expanses of land. This is due in large part I feel to the years spent exploring and living in the minimalist terrains of the deserts of the US Southwest.
Understanding and capturing atmospheric light effects in my work is...and always has been the centrepiece of my journey as an Artist.
I was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1949 and spent my childhood in the Mojave Desert in Southern California about a hundred miles outside of Los Angeles. After receiving a degree from Oregon State University in 1973, I moved to Alaska and eventually immigrated to Canada in 1975. I began painting in 1976 while teaching primary school in the small village of Kitwanga in northwestern British Columbia.
Through my job as a teacher, I met the group of painters who were working in that region of northern British Columbia. Two of those painters, Dave and Anne-Marie Nehring, offered me, in the winter of 1976, the opportunity to fly 250 miles into the Canadian wilderness just south of the Yukon border in northern British Columbia and begin my Journey as an Artist. In exchange for home-schooling their children that winter at Cold Fish Lake, they taught me the basics of Painting. These artists spent their winters in isolated wilderness areas taking care of guide-outfitting lodges.... a common way that made Artists made money back in that time in northern BC. They were self-taught and are some of the most talented painters I have ever met in my Life.
Under the tutelage of the Nehrings and another artist, Wally Humphrey, I was taught the basic principles of Painting. They all came at painting from a different perspective and had distinctly different styles with which they expressed their love of the landscape of northern British Columbia. It was an education very much in the classical tradition...and similar to what would have been taught at the Slade Art school in Britain. After a number of years of working summers as a housepainter and then painting the other 9 months of the year, I launched my professional career as a Painter around 1980.
From 1981 to 1990, I spent my winters in a remote wilderness valley in northwestern British, Columbia just north of Spatsizi Provincial Park. I served as the caretaker at a jade mine, allowing me to divide my time between my farm on the Skeena River in northern British Columbia in the summer months and the isolated wilderness valley near the Yukon border in the winter. During that decade I was able to paint full time. The wilderness valley where I lived in the 1980’s has been compared to the Tibetan plateau and was an area that I shared with wolves, moose, and the large caribou herds who migrated through in early December. I flew into this remote area in early October with my paints and enough food to live on my own for the eight- to nine-month-long winters. It was during these 10 years that I really carved out my Life as a Painter.
In 1993 I moved to Atlin, British Columbia, a small community located near the border with the Yukon and about 2 hours from Whitehorse. This community of 400 people is on the edge of the wilderness and my homestead was located about 10 kilometers up in the mountains just outside the community. I painted full time and exhibited my work in BC, the Yukon, Alaska and at Art fairs in New York and Toronto.
I sold my property in Atlin in 2014 and have built a home/and studio in a rural setting in the Southeast Kootenays.
"My art explores that place where light and colour meet and create an emotional response in the viewer. In my early years as an artist, I was drawn to those painters who incorporated light into their work … whether it was the Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley or the American abstract painter Richard Diebenkorn who explored the atmospheric light of the Santa Monica area in California in his exquisite Ocean Park Series. Over time, my work has evolved to where I am using larger masses of color on the painting surface. This allows me to better explore the emotional response that color and light evoke in the human spirit.
Collage has an ongoing role in my explorations into color and light and allows me to simplify complex designs down their basic forms. The collages of a decade ago were fully realized little works but the collage process now is more open-ended and purely a means of distilling the complex down to the essential.
My perspective on what I want to convey on the painting surface has changed dramatically over the last decade. The narrative element has fallen away and my process now is more about evoking the sensuality of the visual experience. This has meant that painting now is in a realm where abstraction, colour, and light merge into one."
The Juneau Icefield Series
The cabin where I lived near Atlin B.C. from the early 1990’s until 2014, was located up in the mountains above Atlin Lake and directly across from the Juneau Icefield. The Juneau Icefield is over 90 miles long and 50 miles wide.....and contains 40 massive glaciers. It is the 5th largest icefield in the world and is world-renowned for it’s beauty. The Juneau Icefield also acted as my front yard as it was located just across Atlin Lake and directly across from my wilderness homestead near Atlin.
In the summer of 2002, a friend and Bush pilot who lived in Atlin, asked me what I would love to paint more than anything else at that particular point in my painting career. I pointed across the beautiful expanse of Atlin Lake and told Bob I would love to paint the peaks bordering Atlin Lake.....and also the expanses of the Juneau Icefield at dawn. He said that was doable, so we arranged a time that worked for him and on two beautiful calm July mornings, when the skies were cloudless and the expansive Atlin Lake was as smooth as a mirror, we flew over the Juneau Icefield at dawn.
Over the last 15 years I have tried to capture, in over a hundred paintings of the Icefield, the amazing beauty created by that landform. The intricate, complex, and colourful designs in Light and Shadow created by such an expansive Icefield has provided a rare creative opportunity for me as an Artist. My work in the studio over the last 15 years also has included a lot of collage work in addition to the large scale paintings I have completed since 2002.
The Juneau Icefield series has been, and will continue to be, an amazing opportunity for me to explore, in my Artwork, this unique and special region of Northern Canada.
2014 Yukon Arts Centre Studio Gallery, Whitehorse, YT
2013 Yukon Arts Public Gallery, Whitehorse, YT
2008 Bunnell Street Gallery, Homer, AK
2007 Well Street Gallery, Fairbanks, AK
2007 Nemo Art, Anchorage, AK
2005 Bunnell Street Gallery, Homer, AK
2005 Well Street Gallery, Fairbanks, AK
2004 Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, AK
2003 Well Street Gallery, Fairbanks, AK
2003 Studio Blue, Vancouver, BC
2003 Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, Juneau, AK
2002 Yukon Arts Center Main Gallery, Whitehorse, YT
Selected Group Exhibitions
2011 New York Artists Project Art Fair, New York, NY
2010 Outside the Box Group Show, YAC Studio Gallery, Whitehorse, YT
2006 Shy Rabbit Contemporary Gallery, Pagosa Springs, CO
2006 Well Street Gallery, Fairbanks, AK
2006 Durango Arts Center, Durango, CO
2005 FAA Gallery, Fairbanks, AK
2003 Yukon Arts Centre Public Gallery, Whitehorse, YT
Chevron Corporation, Anchorage, AK
Endswell Foundation, Vancouver, BC
Tides Canada Foundation, Vancouver, BC
Sagaya Corporation, Anchorage, AK
Blue Sky Studio, Anchorage, AK
Western Management Consultants, Vancouver, BC
State of Alaska, Alaska Marine Highway System, Valdez, AK
Alaska Conservation Foundation, Anchorage, AK
Yukon Government Permanent Collection, Whitehorse, YT
Yukon Arts Centre Public Collection, Whitehorse, YT