Oils & Pastels

 When I was a kid living out in the country in the Shenandoah Valley, I loved to watch the constant movement of water and listen to the sounds of smaller rivers that fed into the Shenandoah River.  I noticed changes caused by heavy rains and liked to trace the path of a river in the distance by the trees that grew beside it.  

 The river has become a reflection of the fluidity of my life.  Beneath the constant motion and sound of the superficial activity, below the overall sense of continuity, change is happening over time -- usually in subtle ways, like the smoothing of rock, or the carving of the land, and sometimes in abrupt and drastic ways. 

 At this point in my life I appreciate the juxtaposition of constant change with the continuity of the river over time.  I enjoy exploring the distinct seasonal changes, which mirror the seasonal rhythm I experience with my work.  I've taught art for 36 years, and the changes of the school year create variations in the time I have for doing my own artwork.  I've learned to use the fluctuations to detach from my work, and return later with a more objective vantage point to evaluate its "staying power", or ability to stand the test of time, and to bring to it a refreshed sense of direction. 

 The use of different media is one expression of the subtle variations and changes.  I like the contrasting feel of working in the "wet medium" of oil paint and washes, and the "dry" of pastel.  I enjoy exploring ways one scene can be interpreted using a variety of drawing and painting tools, paper surfaces and different media.

As a child, I wondered where the river came from, and  when I look at it now, it still seems not to end, creating a sense of mystery.  I find it reassuring that life is smoothing out edges in me, and that underneath the surface, creative change is an ongoing reality.