I shall commence with a statement from my Website, one that encapsulates my point of view regarding the making of art:
“Life is a gift. It should not be disdained or squandered frivolously. So I ask myself the questions, ‘What do I do with it?’ and, ‘What next?’ The questions persist. Accordingly, my life path has taken many turns. If there is a signature characteristic that governs my decisions, it is a fairly simple one. I see myself as a maker. I mean this quite literally, as well as metaphorically.
It is my mission, my job and my passion to make things. This is motivated by loving care for my fellow beings and by a strong desire to share. I strive to express this in the things that I make. To achieve it, I have explored and utilized many media: paint, ink, stone, wood, glass, living landscapes, and the written word. The medium is simply the vehicle; I trust my inner voice to find the road.”
Art is and is not many things. It may be whimsical, but not irrelevant. It may look to and draw from the past, but may not be moribund. It may find inspiration in the work of others, but may not be redundant. It may inform, but may not be didactic.
For my own part, the making of art expresses my worldview, and it is, in a sense, a spiritual, perhaps even a ritualistic, act, although it is not a specifically religious or doctrinal one. There are many paths, but we are all seekers; we are all kindred, and may yet respect one another’s differences and diversity.
It is this awareness with which I mean to infuse whatever I make. I quote another passage from my Website, in which the word “paintings” should read for all my art:
“Characteristically, the imagery and iconography of these paintings reflect the sacred traditions of the Earth, both past and present, and, by extension, they reflect on the sacredness and proliferation of life beyond the sphere of this one small planet. They are landscapes of the nearly familiar, meant to evoke recognition and resonance in the province of the viewer’s inner vision. Above all, they celebrate life and love and the sharing of these gifts.”
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Returning to the mundane, my way to becoming a professional artist and my career path subsequently have been somewhat unorthodox. I have attended workshops and have had the benefit of advice from colleagues, but I have had no formal training in the making of art. Rather, after carefully considering my options as a student, I elected to attend a college known for academic excellence and a broad-based liberal arts educational philosophy. It is a decision I have never regretted. I believe my collegiate experience helped me to learn how to learn, a skill I have done my utmost to apply assiduously to all my life’s endeavors.
Outside of a strictly academic context, I have been privileged to associate with friends and colleagues whose insights have aided me in developing and refining my art. I believe it would be appropriate to acknowledge two, in particular, whom I regard as mentors. Sadly, both are deceased; nonetheless, the imprint of their wisdom remains indelible on my mind. These two men, to whom I owe much, were Paul Edwards, formerly Chairman of the Art Department at Washington and Jefferson College, and Charlie Pitcher, the most masterful artist I have ever known.
The other choice that one might view as unconventional is the decision, taken 15 years ago, to sequester myself at a remote rural location. I have made reference to this decision in other documents submitted with this package. Rather than reiterate what I have stated elsewhere, I shall add only that this course was chiefly predicated on one very simple principle: the purpose of a maker is to make. Therefore, at a point in my career when informed counsel might have advocated a more public role, I chose to do the contrary. My intent was, and is, to simplify all aspects of life and diminish distractions, with the object to optimally devote my energy and attention to the making of art.
As my glass art has evolved and attained the standard of quality I require of my work, I have made it policy to creep more frequently out of the shadows of the backwoods, and re-engage more fully with the greater art community. That process continues.
There is one apparent truth to which I adhere fervently: art must speak for itself, and it must reflect the individual perspectives and nature of the artist, as well as embrace those more universal qualities that unite us all. In this light, I hope you will find virtue in my work to commend it.