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St. Charles, Missouri USA
Every piece I’ve created has centered on the idea, the notion, of capturing something, whether it’s a concept, a look, a
place, motion, mood or beauty in nature. I love what I find in nature. Most of my works focus on what I find in nature, or on nature’s effects on the works of humans … and sometimes on nature’s effects on people. I have had a long, deep and growing relationship with God, and for me, I find God in nature. I’m a long-distance runner, and I participate in two or three marathons per year. During my training runs, I spend hours running on trails through the wooded areas of the Missouri River floodplains near my home. On those runs, immersed completely in nature, I see the true strength and beauty of God’s creation. I see close-up, the power of the Missouri River, how it can uproot centuries-old trees and carry them miles downstream. I can see how the river can carve into its banks and change its course. I also see how, when the floodwaters recede, life emerges in the form of new trees, tall grasses and other plants, and in habitats for wildlife. I guess you could say that I’m an artist first, a runner second, and that I bring my artist’s awareness and sensibilities along with me on every run.
That’s another aspect of my work, and of my view on art. Art is about the senses. I love pieces that, even though they may be visual pieces, still transcend the medium and convey an appeal to the more than just our visual sense. So for me, as an artist, texture and creating works that successfully convey texture is endlessly appealing and interesting. I’m never happier than when I hear someone say, “Just looking at that illustration, it’s like I can feel the subject.” Part of accomplishing that is hrough the use of extremely fine detail. I take many hours to create minute details, but the reward is a piece of art that a reader can savor for a long time … like nature itself, such a piece rewards and engages the close viewer.
“Wonder” is a piece that allowed me to combine virtually all of this. I have found countless pieces of driftwood on my running routes along the banks of the Missouri River, and I’m intrigued by their form, their texture, their detail and their history. They all originate along the banks of the Missouri River, somewhere between St. Charles, Missouri and the Missouri’s origin in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana. Exactly where? I’ll never know. But I do know that each of them has a story, and that some were carried along for hundreds of miles by one of the world’s largest and most powerful rivers. The forces of the waves and the current, the sun and the wind sculpted each one into something entirely new, giving them texture, depth and character. “Wonder” is a composite of many of those pieces, and in it I created the grain with waves of its own, formed and frozen in the wood by the hand of God and nature. I love how I can just look at it and feel all of that through their complicated textures. Hunters, fishermen and hikers step over so much of this driftwood every day, and most probably don’t notice it. But I find it fascinating, and I think the story of the driftwood of the Missouri River is worth telling, and worthy of understanding. So I set out to capture its form and its beauty, and to emphasize the wonder I found within each piece of these natural sculptures. My goal was to emphasize their strength, completely convey their texture, capture the motion that they in turn capture in their grain and most of all, to show the viewer of my illustration the wonder I feel when I find these simple, yet so complex pieces of driftwood.
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