Platte River Distraction            2021 - 2023


    Like so many people, Covid 19 disrupted my normal work patterns.

    Although my art has sometimes dealt with issues of trauma, the Corona virus seemed too dark and unknowable for it to find a way into painting or sculpture. 

My studio was at a standstill.

Then I found my inspiration in an exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, presenting works from their 19th century collection.  Near the exhibit’s end was a small painting, ‘Edge of a Wheat Field with Poppies’ by Vincent Van Gogh.  Compositionally, Van Gogh used rotational symmetry in this painting, a device I have often employed in my work, but that I had never applied to nature. This simple compositional factor became my pandemic distraction, my motivator for new art.

    With rotational symmetry, the image can be rotated 180 degrees and the overall composition remains intact.

     If there is a form to the upper right, then a comparable form is placed to the lower left.  A gesture in one corner is balanced by a similar gesture in the opposite corner.

We often walk along the river at Platte Valley Ranch Open Space Park.  One day as I strolled along the narrow gauge railway path I wondered if I could find compositions similar to the abstracted one of Van Gogh. I embarked on this process through multiple steps.  My purpose was not to ‘do landscapes’, but only to find structure in them.  I began to photograph along the river, finding a rotational balance between a tree in one corner and rocks in another, or a tumbling cascade opposed by a bush across from it.  I selected a few dozen images that when tipped and cropped, displayed the rotational symmetry I sought. 

   I sought a freedom of movement to achieve works exhibiting both positive and negative mark making.  By working spontaneously, some images retained the feeling of the river, while others became pure abstractions.  

Additional paintings were done in a variety of sizes,

always referencing the original photos or sketches.

Platte River Distraction, 1 thru 35,         2021 - 2022

Acrylic & Mixed Media on Floating Masonite Panel

9 1/2” x 14” each            installation view at 931 Gallery in Denver

Platte River Distraction    25.2, 26.2, 27.2   2022

Acrylic on Floating Masonite Panels

11 7/8” x 17 7/8” each

Platte River Distraction     2021 - 2022

Acrylic on 35 Floating Masonite Panels

9 1/2” x 14” each

Pine Valley 1, 2, 3 & 4    2022

Acrylic on Floating Masonite Panels

11 7/8” x 17 7/8” each

Pine Valley  5 & 6    2023

Acrylic on Floating Masonite Panels

32” x 24”

Pine Valley  7 & 8   2023

Acrylic on Floating Masonite  Panels

32” x 24”

Pine Valley  9 & 10    2023

Acrylic on Floating Masonite Panels

32” x 24”

The paintings of the next group were also done from the original photo source, but unlike the previous groups were structured on the vertical and of a larger size.

    Sketches were done of those images followed by sketches of the sketches.  With each step, I was reducing and abstracting, intentionally moving away from the source material.  Finally, I painted from each of those sketches, working on a group of three or four at a time.  I ended up with 35 works of the same size which were presented in 931 Gallery in the order of their creation.  

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