Artist Statement for The Parrish Art Museum, summer 2011
It wasn’t until after I moved to Bridgehampton in 1988 that I began to paint outdoors. I don’t always go out on location but it’s the way I prefer to work rather than paint in the studio. By design I can leave behind the everyday distractions that interfere with my painting. I don’t have to answer the phone, no need to wear a watch, I don’t feel the urge to dig around in my garden or drop what I’m doing to go on emergency call with the fire department. Going out to paint feels like a good tactic to get away from all the above. I’m just there to work. But when I’ve set up on the bluffs in Montauk and no one’s around, painting seems secondary to the moment. Really it’s just an excuse for being there, my way to appreciate the beauty of this landscape around us.
Sheridan Lord was one of my favorite painters who lived and worked on the East End and one of the first artists I knew who painted this way. I’ve set up to work in places where he once worked, followed in his traditional footsteps so to speak and stood where he placed his easel. Some of those places have disappeared or look very much different today than when he was alive. They’re overgrown or overdeveloped. It hasn’t all changed for the worse. Soon there will be an art museum where there used to be a farm. Still I’m not 100% sure I’m in favor of it but it seems more practical than building a house on the beach the size of Club Med. This is how the landscape of the East End is changing, one parcel of land at a time. Fortunately there are individuals and organizations trying to preserve the landscape, the culture and history of this area. I think most of us realize once it’s lost it’s gone for good. For my part I’ll do my best to preserve it, one painting at a time.