It takes so long to find your way as a painter. I have heard a lifetime. Though I have enjoyed many accomplishments, I feel that I have just now taken my first big step in understanding myself and what I want to paint and how I want to paint it.
I have heard that many judges of juried shows can tell if your work is sincere, and if it is not they will see through you and not select your work. I have no way of telling if this is true or not. But I hope from this time on that they see the sincerity on my work that only I can bring. It is me and no one else.
But what I can say is that one judge told me in a blanket statement in a show that I was part of was this: “ This is very much a Midwest show. It reflects a suburban idea of what art can be. There is no urban imagery and much that celebrates a nostalgic vision of an old-fashioned, rural America.” Thanks Owen Findsen. You are right. And though those words cut me and hurt so much, they where correct. Even the little portion that I was able to digest at that time, and more as time went on.
It was the very words I needed to here to help me discover what I was truly always inspired about as an American painter. It was just that, rural America. Like the great painters, though not all rural, I have always enjoyed, Grant Woods, Andrew Wyeth, Hopper and George Wesley Bellows that captured a glimpse of what America was like in these isolated areas of America. This was something that always inspired me since I came from a very rural area, mostly farming was all around me, and my fathers father was a farmer. We where brought up with what I believed where heartland morals that came out of the second World War when people believed strongly in America, the American people and the American way of life under God.
This is what I really wanted to paint as an American Oil Painter. Bringing our attention to good, handwork and physical life. A biscuit you could be smelled baking in the oven, made from scratch using ingredients available close at a farmers market or even better from your own farm. People who had and could show on their faces life, real life, that they themselves had lived.
Like the documentary photographers of the old Time Life magazines that showed us an unseen life some place in America and bringing it back to our attention.
What I was painting before was more of what I thought art should be as being more duplicates from what other painters had shown as their art. What I want to bring now is my perspective. My concerns. My life of who I am, how I was raised and all that inspires me about the gift of life we all share.