Gallery Six: 2003

Several things happened in 2003. First I bought a digital camera and took it to Berlin Nevada. Digital photography freed me from the expense of film and the fear of wasting it. I am still painting from images harvested on that trip.
Secondly, I became intrigued with anonymous portraits, images of people which fascinate, not because the viewers know who they are, but because they want to know.
Thirdly, I realized my dissatisfaction with "empty" landscapes. When I look at a painting, I want someone to look back at me. A person, an animal, whatever. Old cars have faces and can look back at you, and they also stand as a surrogate for people who once owned them. Old buildings stand for the people who once lived in them. I realized that all the landscapes I had ever painted which did not have such a "protagonist" had strong indicators of the passage of time... sun rising or setting, storms (or trains) moving through. Many had roads running through them. Some of the roads had travelers. But on all roads, the viewer is a virtual traveler. This concept turns out to be as old as landscape painting itself. The first true landscapes, which were not mere backgrounds for portraits or religious subjects, were painted in Germany in the sixteenth century. They were protestant and iconoclastic in origin: take a painting of a hermit-saint living in the wilderness and remove the hermit. The viewer becomes the virtual saint. These early paintings are full of roads and travelers, standing for the viewer's progress through life.