For thousands of years, wax has had a venerable place in human history. The inherent qualities of wax make it an ideal material for painting because it binds pigment, adheres to a variety of surfaces, builds up layers and textures and is impermeable to moisture and the elements. In addition, wax’s translucent property allows light to enter the layers of the painting, move about and reemerge from the surface transformed giving off an almost luminance to the image.
I was introduced to the cold wax/oil paint technique by my long-time dear friend, Orazio Salati. His landscapes and abstractions have been inspirational to me. In my recent correspondence with Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin, co-authors of the book, Cold Wax Medium: Techniques, Concepts & Conversations, I have found support and encouragement. Within the past two and half years, I’ve learned how to use glazes, brayers, palette knives, squeegees, brushes and even fingers to achieve various effects in my work through the use of the cold wax technique. What I most enjoy is scraping, scratching and gouging the layers of color. A dry or semi-dry surface offers resistance so scratching and scraping and therefore produces edges and shapes that are jagged and uneven. This is very conducive for a primarily expressionistic style of painting and abstract expressionism is a comfortable and familiar place for me.
I’ve always had a deep interest in archaeology. Essentially, archaeologists dig to uncover the past and learn how the past affects society today. And that’s what I like to think I’m doing in my paintings. Just like the archaeologist, I dig down into layers of color and texture to reveal new expressive forms that affect the power of the painting that will, in turn, communicate an idea or theme involving human experience. I’ve always believed that making art is an attempt to explore what it means to be human just like archaeology is an attempt to figure out what it means to be human through the “dig”. For me, there is a quality of timelessness to both endeavors. In my opinion, the activity of the painter and the activity of the archaeologist both emphasize the contingency of human experience and conceptual thought on the interaction with physical materials or elements in their respective disciplines.
I love the intuitive and improvisational aspects of abstraction. Most of my paintings are nostalgia-based meaning that they are derived from personal sensory memories. I focus on trying to capture a moment lost, a season or an hour glimpsed or the after image of a brief encounter. I hope that my paintings will preserve these moments for interpretation and discovery by the viewer.