|"Rio Grande River Autumn" oil on linen, 36 x 48 inches|
As an artist, I have a passion for creativity. When I set up a blank, white canvas on an easel in my studio, immediately I am challenged. How will I produce a work of art? My tools are paints, palette knives and brushes, but I must decide how to mix the paints, what colors to produce, what lines and shapes to make, what textures I want to be seen . . . and then I have to work with skill to be able to produce a worthy result.
When I am working on a landscape painting, I often work from nature on location. This has special challenges, i.e. the light constantly changes, the weather can be windy, rainy or cold, and sometimes a location is far away from my studio. I have painted so many pictures outdoors, that now, I know the colors and textures of nature and how to achieve them—even if I choose to work from a photograph in my studio, where the environment is controlled. Usually, when people view my paintings, they cannot tell the difference between ones painted outdoors and those painted from photos. The landscape I am showing above is a recent piece, done in my studio from a photograph.
Being creative means experimenting with whatever modality is at hand. With the advent of digital imaging, photography can be manipulated as easily as painting. Special software, such as Photoshop, allows pixels to be changed and recombined to marvelous advantage. Because of my traveling, and passion for photography, I have tens of thousands of photos in my files. In the next photograph, I have combined two images taken in Venice, Italy, to achieve an unexpected result that goes beyond typical photos. The last image is a similar technique of combining images taken in Paris, France—one, a bronze relief from the Louvre Museum, and the other, a texture found on the wall of a mausoleum in the Père Lachaise Cemetery. This is the fun of creativity—to explore and discover.