detail, Siena Series #9


For many years I have been interested in the beauty and quality of line and have used painting as a medium to explore this interest. I spent a sabbatical leave in Italy and the experience opened a new direction for my work. In Rome I was amazed by the Italian aesthetic: design, architecture, color, balance and form. I began to think of my paintings as units of design with placement and balance of primary importance.

These paintings begin with a ground of burnt or raw siena, which is the same color found in Roman masonry. A near-white is achieved only after dozens of layers of tonal modulation are added. Form and balance are achieved through line. Line can be light and almost invisible, made of graphite and pushed back in space under layers of glazing; or line can invoke deep space, through dark tones and wide dimension, at times with a blue aura emanating from black.

The Italian experience has become so valuable to my work that I continue to return to Italy almost every year in an effort to better understand and appreciate this remarkable heritage.