five foot by five foot piece of art on canvas with oil pastels isnít very
efficient, but Iím most satisfied when drawing, and also most satisfied with
the unusual effect that the layering of oil pastels can provide.
Evoking an emotion is what I have been after for over 30 years as a teacher,
a creative director, and as an artist. I have chosen the 1940ís as my
subject for a show because it evokes emotions in me of tremendous respect
and admiration; respect for the grit and beauty that existed in everyday
people and everyday life.
Grit and beauty is what the men and women of 1940ís Pittsburgh had as they
traversed through a world filled with war, conflict, hard work and hard
times. They seldom lost sight of the gift of another day, and faced it with
joy, style and hope. This was the decade when the most influential people in
my life were coming of age. My admiration for those people is nearly
matched by my admiration for, and my fascination with, that time and place.
I work on large pieces approximately 4.5 feet by 4.5 feet using oil pastels
on either stretched canvas or Arches watercolor paper.
Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, I spent my
days exploring the space beneath logs and rocks or
reading science fiction. As a result the
shapes and colors of the natural world, as well as my
own wacky imagination are the main sources for my work.
With some of my glass beetles for example, I
try to capture and mimic an actual species with
intricate detail on the tiny limbs and thorax.
While in other pieces, I attempt to bring into being
a creature from an inner reality or a dream.
In some cases I merge the fantastical with the real
through choice of color palette or by referencing familiar images in
a mythical work.
Regardless of the end result, I find great
joy in sculpting glass - witnessing the transformation
of a brittle and cold substance to a molten and pliable material then
back to a solid form again.
All of my sculptures are individually hand
made by melting glass rods over a torch.
Each sculpture has been stabilized using a process
called "annealing" - After I finish my sculptures
each day, I place them in a kiln and bring them slowly up to a temperature
just below that at which the glass begins to melt.
Once the kiln reaches this temperature and soaks for a short
while, the kiln is slowly cooled down.
This allows all internal stress to be released from the
glass, thereby becoming ďannealed.Ē