This October, I will be presenting a show themed around matching wines with paintings. This isn't my idea, and I owe a great deal of gratitude to Jen at the Artist's Angle in Fredrick, Maryland. We sat down one morning for brunch with my mother-in-law, and Jen, who organizes multiple art functions, such as Art-o-Matic in Fredrick, mentioned the idea as a way of bringing people together. When I thought about what I wanted to show, and what would look good in the Jazzway venue during the Fall, my landscapes were the first thing that came to mind. I have alway produced landscapes wherever I find myself, and over the past years I began to see a reoccurring theme in what types of paintings were produced where, and what kind of influence setting exerts over the creative process. This is something I've considered often in regards to being an Alabama transplant in the city of Baltimore. How does the artist adapt to their surroundings when making their art, and how do you detect that influence? Having an oevure of plien air landcapes and still life paintings done from observation gave me the opportunity to really look at their differences and similarities. Initially, I divided them up into themes, but having landscapes vs. still life wasn't a very interesting narrative for a show. I decided instead to seperate them by location, which gave the body of work a little more flexibility.
Dutchess County, New York had to make the list. I have a large body of work that I've made in the town of Rhinebeck over the years, and all of them happen to be plien air, or on location, landscape paintings. That area of the Hudson River Valley is magical to me, and I'm lucky to have made the acquaintance of a family that hosts my visits. I've only been in the summer, and even in July the nights get down the low 80s, which is such a welcome change from the oppressive heate in Baltimore. I recently got a chance to see that area of mid state New York when I traveled up to buy wine for the Art&Wine Pairing. The colors were in full swing on October 15, and as I drove back to Baltimore, it was almost like a drive back into the seasonal colors of summer.
The two areas in Maryland that are represented in this show are the rural areas north of Baltimore, and the western county of Fredrick. Baltimore county is home to many of my older friends and Baltimore natives, and gives a respite from the rigidity of the City. Fredrick on the other hand, or more specifically the Rocky Ridge/Thurmont area, is where my lovely in-laws live, and since they have opened up their arms to me, I have often found myself there throughout the year and in many seasons. There are some places, such as churches or delapated structures that draw my interest in both places. Maryland still has a newness that makes me want to study it longer. The similarities to what Fairhope, my hometown, looked like when I was young are visible in the farming and fishing equipment strewn across the ladscape, but every area does the two-step a bit differently, and seeing those nuances are what draw me to the subjects that I paint. Being close to my residence has given me a little licencse to use oil more often, or bring the pieces back to the studio to finish.