An early realization upon embarking on the serious study of art is that there is a clear demarcation in the physical/optical appearance of paintings produced before the turn of the nineteenth century and those after; approximately around the time of the emergence of French Impressionism. Walking through the galleries of the Legion of Honor, where paintings can be viewed in clear chronological order, I noticed a rather sudden change in the depth and luminosity of the earlier works compared to later ones. Upon learning that this difference was due almost entirely to the change in the way paintings from these two eras were physically made (earlier works were built up in separate translucent and transparent, optically interactive layers; later ones almost always constructed of opaque strokes of paint that covered up previous touches), I began an extensive study of the history of painting techniques to discover the reason for the complex luminosity I so admired in the pre-Impressionist works, eventually developing a synthesis of techniques from several different eras of painting, based primarily on monochrome underpainting followed by transparent and translucent color layers.
Since the layered approach to painting precludes plein air painting (outdoors before the subject), I take full advantage of my years of photography study (largely through the writings of Ansel Adams), several years as a custom printer in commercial photo labs (exercising subtle control of values to produce fine art prints for discerning professional photographers) and a decade of lighting study working on feature films as a Director of Photography, to create landscape photographs that inspire the paintings produced in the studio. These images are 're-imagined' with image editing software to optimize them for use as inspiration for a painting - optimizing value balances, critical cropping, reducing or eliminating distracting and irrelevant details, shifting the placement of key compositional elements, and so on.
My preferred subjects are small intimate details of the landscape, rather than broad vistas, inspired often by the glowing effects of grasses and foliage illuminated from behind in the late afternoon or early morning.
City College of San Francisco
Bachelor of Science, 1982
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