Notes on Seascapes



I grew up in Northern California, close to both the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay, and remember very clearly the rugged coast around Half Moon Bay, Pescadero  and Santa Cruz.  With time passing, however, my recollections have changed having been edited by both memory and imagination.  Once, the mental pictures of the ocean coasts of my memory seemed very clear and precise, and as a result, I felt a keen disappointment when my paintings fell short.  As I thought about it, however, I realized that my actual memories were not what they first seemed.  Their clarity was an illusion.  It was not the particularity of graphic detail that gave these memories their power, so much as their affect–  the state of mind I found myself in when I was by the ocean.  I came to see that it was memory’s deeply embedded feelings and emotions that were the important element - not a precise mental picture - and that these feelings and emotions provided the basis for the intuitive guides and parameters of the seascapes I was painting.

These scenes are for me an uncharted terrain and paradoxically, at the same time, a place where I am sure I have been before.  My work is naturally rooted in the past and the way things once were, perhaps before humans appeared.  The incessant pounding of the waves on the shore suggest the timeless, and the horizon I’ve drawn stretches off into the infinite distance.  And while these seascapes are clearly the product of paint and brush, they are for me, at the same time, real places.  Often, even in a very small picture, I am struck by the seeming immensity of what is before me and wonder, how did I get here?  These are peaceful,  desolate and haunting places that memory produces, and I never tire of painting them.