I grew up next to a bayou in Houston, Texas. There were large windows with nature seemingly undisturbed by urban life. Raccoons, possums, red birds ate cat food at our backdoor. The window seemed to contain a forest. Groups of trees in all sizes surrounded a deep stream which had dug out areas of land. Floods came and went with torrential waters. This was where my sense of “home” began. This bayou was Texas. Wild, inspiring, delicate and aggressive- the full range of senses. This environment became my seed to find the fullness of life. “Fullness of life? What does this mean?” My choice; study the arts. Throughout my life, I have struggled, made mistakes, learned, grown, met new friends, and lost old friends but, through it all I have found a freedom in my attempts to express, draw, and sculpt my responses using fantasy, reality, abstraction and expressionist symbolism. Each response from each area morphed into other, hopefully more discerning questions and answers.
Naively, my youthful self-asked only one question, “How I do I want to paint?”. How do I make my mark? I told myself, Nature was spontaneous; that was its power. Argh! But, so much information in nature to inform my feelings! More and more as I learned, I felt farther and farther from nature and more and more only in my head. It’s too much! Backing off information, I just began to look visually for my growth. I responded to the speed of Van Gogh’s mark; its boldness and intensity. It was like Passion and Desire on the brink of creation.
My studies led me to see the huge ring of walls where Monet’s Water lilies created such an impact as to absorb all who observed... It was an experience beyond Van Gogh. At that point, I gained a way inside my body from the outside. It was like being a child watching little animals at play in my bayou. I decided I was an expressionistic romantic. I wanted to use my mark to pursue the spirit of the bayou. Like Van Gogh and Monet, the marks I made had to hold this spirit. I plunged into paintings without any studies of the process of actual building a landscape. Under the influence of Monet, I began a series of large almost life size Texas landscapes.
Light…. describes everything in life. Without light one has only darkness. I would never have known nature without light. I would never have felt myself without light. When do feelings from one’s spirit arise? Look for the light. Think about the light. Follow the light. GLORY BE TO THEE, O LORD!
First, I needed to simplify my study. I began to look at the subtleties of light on the human form with pencil and charcoal. I looked only at the light and dark relationships in value. Two rules to live by are Love God first and Love the other as myself. I can do nothing outside of Christ. I’ve surrendered. I follow his lead of unconditional love as best I can. I want to progress into what God has planned for my life.
How does one paint love, courage and faith?
How does one paint the force of Life that Light exposes?
How does one see, then feel, then integrate love, courage and faith into such a vision?
My journey has been long, strenuous and one that has tested my courage. I need Faith to look into the light to paint what I love, the uncontrollable beauty of nature.