NATURAL SELECTIONS, BIG FISH
Painting is the compass by which I orient myself to daily experience. The process is as close to a mystical experience as I have had. It is an act of discovery, a journey through legend, mystery, and magic.
The images in this series reflect a certain nostalgia for growing up in the Southwest where the landscape was a riot of light and color and my cultural artifacts (Mexican serapes, textiles and embroidery) were profuse with rich patterning and repetition. It seems only natural that upon moving to Oregon, a similar aesthetic would inform my work. I gravitate to things that are ornate, excessive, overdone, colorful, and patterned.
What began as small color notations in my field sketchbook, became an obsession with fish biology, species identification, fisheries management, indigenous cosmology, and a fascination with water. The work that evolved is a series of large-scale (5 x 4 feet) oil paintings created to command attention, via their physicality, and encourage close inspection of the beauty that our Oregon waters produce.
These oil paintings illuminate the surfaces of various species of Northwest fish, although the subject matter may not be apparent at first glance. They are meant to be viewed from multiple distances: up close, the individual scales and subtle layering of colors are evident; from a distance, the form is suggested by an iridescent fin or lateral line. As a long-time angler as well as a painter, I've been enamored by Oregon's rivers, lakes, and their inhabitants for some time. Straddling abstraction and representation, this series is a tribute to our fisheries.
People safeguard the things that they love. If my work can inspire greater appreciation, preservation, and protection of our fish, other wildlife and their habitat, and then subsequently compel action to conserve it, my intentions will be well met. I believe personal appreciation and stewardship are intertwined.