Photo: Andre Rispler

Photo: Andre Rispler

Watching paint come to life as form has always capitivated me.  The idea that the representation of an object or a place can materialize simply by staining paper with pigments in a deliberate way is to witness a bit of magic.  My  watercolors of found objects and imaginary postage stamps follow in the tradition of 19th century scientific illustrations in their accurate portrayal of form and materials presented in stark, trompe l’oeil realism. Watercolor paintings of discarded items such as hand-written machinist’s notebook pages and time worn paper allow us to discover and examine the beauty of mundane objects, and ponder their meaning with the probing eye of an archaeologist examining unfamiliar hieroglyphics.  Initially the viewer may not be aware that the subject is a painting, and may wonder why paper scraps or rusty pieces of metal are worthy of framing. Only when there is a recognition that a hand and eye have delineated the minute raised edges of punched holes or the serrated perforations of postage stamps and the surface quality of decay is the observer forced to pause, and scrutinize,  elevating the ordinary and ephemeral to the timelessness of art.  

The plein air landscapes you see on this site are not intended to be photorealistic.  They are about capturing the light at a specific time and place, distilling the complexity of a location into a convincing, but simplified version of reality recording only the aspects of a scene that are essential to making it recognizable.  When this is achieved, the painting is done.  My aim is documenting places in a kind of shorthand realism reminiscent of such artists as Karl Bodmer, and Emil Kosa, Jr.

Although I attended a great art school, the California College of the Arts, and had an ability to draw, neither drawing nor painting were primary interests, and I took no classes there in basic art techinque.   Only as a freelancer in the visual services department of a prominent San Francisco engineering firm did I first seriously pick up a paint brush, when I was charged with preparing highly realistic photosimulations (gouache painting over large format photographs), of  major architectural and engineering projects for environmental impact reports.   I discovered that I was a natural at observing and replicating color, and very adept at creating representational subject matter.  From then on, drawing and painting became my life's work, leading to a career as an architectural illustrator working primarily in the conceptual design and large-scale master plan realm for clients around the world.  All during this time I was constantly honing my painting skills, making my fictitious postage stamps, and combining my instinctive meticulousness with a longstanding love of realism, landscape painting and the pleasure in creating illusions on paper.

My work can be found in numerous private and corporate collections throughout the United States, as well as the in the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.