There are many lake paintings in this gallery, some painted outdoors in Maine, where I own a cabin on Mooselookmeguntic Lake, and some painted in my Newton studio.
Winter light is my favorite light. At this time of year, when light is at its most precious, I am trying to mine it, to store it away to take out and relish when I need it most- in the early evening, or on dark days.
A Winter’s Tale, a 1982 novel by Mark Helprin, is an homage to light- to the winter light that falls on New York City, and on a mythic lake in the Adirondacks- Lake of the Coheeries. That imaginary lake inspired a series of paintings done in the winter and early spring, over a period of 16 years. I think of them both as urban and as mountain landscapes , in which mountains and skyscrapers are interchangeable, with light cascading down from the heavens, and my own spirit rising upward toward the source of the light. They are symbolic paintings in that I am using the descriptive language of the novel to create the landscapes for me, rather than working from photographs or painting from within an actual landscape. In my own inner landscapes, backgrounds and foregrounds become interchangeable, scenes are found within scenes, and objects remain ambiguous. Light is the integrating feature, along with my own rejoicing at the return of the light to my studio starting in late January. I particularly love snow and ice for their magical ways of reflecting and diffusing light.
Summer is a more immediate season for me, more momentary and noisy. The summer paintings in this show (Wind and Water; Views From the Dock, etc.) are snapshots of my experience on a dock that juts out into a large lake in Maine. The landscape surrounds me, and I am being blown and jostled by the wind and the spray, and by the constantly changing colors of the sky and the water. Some of the literal landscape is there, but rather than rendering the scene, I am trying to capture something of its rhythmic and “animal” sense, and of the musical color show that I am experiencing. The process feels less mediated by language than the Coheeries paintings, which are done in a much slower and more contemplative way over a period of months, and where I am consciously playing with the parameters of the imagined scene- color, plane, shape, perspective, texture. Those paintings are more frozen- both literally and figuratively, like the mental time lapse during an entire season in the mountains.