My Art Story.

First Gate pine logs, 109″ X 78″ X 10″ 1970

I applied to graduate school positing an exploration of gateways. Worthy of sculptural exploration, I thought. I got a scholarship, moved to Madison, Wisconsin (UW) and went to work. This piece fit the minimalist mode ‘o day, but I was just a little bit late to that party. It’s tough to board a moving train. Oh well—my folks had said, if I got an academic scholarship they’d help with living expenses.

Lazarus’ Gate, fir and redwood, 38″x 48″x14″,1972
Teton Range reflected in Jenny Lake, my inspiration for the gateways I made.

I saw the reflected mountains as a gate to the unconscious in that thinnest space between above and below, awake and sleep. I made many iterations, winning a contest to build this sculpture from aluminum. I felt I was gaining professional stature.

Lazarus’ Gate Welded Aluminum 96″ high 1972-73
The Mask of Lazarus, cherry wood, 18″x 12″ 1972

But, I felt bad about using new material to make my work, so I began to make work using scraps I’d pick up walking to my studio—I had attended the first Earth Day celebration in DC (April 1970) which brought the idea of treading lightly; sustainability came front and center in my life as I adopted the life of a Bricoleur: using what is at hand.

My studio wall, 1972.
I decided to make work using scrap material gleaned from other grad studios. My antecedent came from Giacometti’s Palace at 4 AM.
The Palace at 4 AM Alberto Giacometti 1932
My Palace at 4 AM made of material gleaned from graduate studios, 1973.
Using scraps I re-formed and re-worked to make my dream world.
More objects from the dream world.
Horn Book — American Colonial Period

I had this idea to make watercolors as a transgressive act defying the minimalist/conceptual modes of working in the early 70’s, again late to board a moving train. Having never taken a painting class, watercolor or other wise, at the time thinking painting was a “place-keeper”. Sculpture was real. I figured I’d need some remedial education so I took my lead from the 18th Century, Colonial Era horn books—those primers used in early education protected by thin sheets of horn. I experimented with various ways to put colors onto paper, teaching myself how the paint flows with the water. I then mounted the paintings on to my hand-crafted “horn books.” In the doing was the learning.

Horn Books for Learning Watercolor, walnut and watercolor each c. 8″ high 1973
First Watercolor, w/c on paper 22″ x 15″ 1973.

Above is my first watercolor, painted on Cape Cod. After my Horn Book remedial education, it was revelatory to me that I could actually paint a picture. And so began a pictorial practice that’s lasted 50 years. When I landed in CA in 1974, I bought a house right on the creek and spent many dreamy hours looking at water flowing by, in all seasons, and ended up painting dozens of paintings of the creek bed.

Which Doctor, w/c on paper 41″ x 52″ 1978. Destroyed in a fire 1995.
Surface Tension 8 color litho with hand painted calligraphy 1985-2007

Depiction became a game of “could I paint that?” I moved on down the road a bit to Forest Knolls, but I managed one last picture of the creek in 1989.

Last Watercolor, watercolor on paper 22″ x 30″ 1989
Philosophy, faux finished masonite with inset watercolors, 48″x36″ 1999

I wanted to say more than my watercolor pictorial practice would allow, so I began inserting pictures into frames that were pictures themselves. This continues.

The Kite of Suffering and Redemption, watercolor paintings set into a painted sculpture, 109″ x 76″

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