ALMOST A DIARY
when the road is under-wheel and the sky rushes overhead, there is a
magical moment of observation and reflection. The highway's dashed white
line extends into eternity; Einstein's "Theory of Relativity" is
obvious; mans' eternal struggle with nature is a dance; and life is fresh.
And sometimes, when painting changes from doing into being, I travel
another road full of insightful glimpses. Like most revelations, these are
not unique but they dawn with the power and newness of the morning sun.
series of paintings was originally conceived in early 1991 and has been a
reoccurring theme of exploration ever since. After the success of the Chuckatuck
Creek Series, I was searching for a subject with similar graphic
symbols. I realized the road, like the creek, could function as a path in
reality and in painting. For the sake of growth and interest, I wanted a
new element and decided on the house, a symbol for mankind, and a contrast
to the fluid nature of the road. Along with the theme "Highway
Homes," I decided the order of exploration would be sepia drawings,
watercolors, oil sketches, and larger paintings. (To be honest, frequently
the passion of creativity overpowered this logically predetermined order.)
I also decided that I would continue to paint this theme until it yielded
working with the reed pen and sepia ink -- a new adventure for me -- I
learned to simplify the shapes and quickly identified the essential
elements of the series: the receding road (triangle, arc, direction), the
house and its land (rectangle, anchor), the vibrant forest (rhythm,
divider, unifier), and the ever present sky (gradation, mirror). While
doing the drawings I realized that the "by the side of the road
and be a friend to man" house and the "away from
everyone" house were the same. Like the inside and outside of the
cup, the positive and negative shapes of a drawing, and the yin and yang;
the average life has a lot more to do with perception than reality.
the watercolors, the temporal variations of each composition were
represented by colors and values. As my brush explored a two-dimensional
time, I remembered the many childhood journeys that I spent delighting in
shadow colors on the pavement and watching the elusive, gleaming
reflections of the sun on the dewy grass. I found that light and shade
like joy and sadness, or up and down are not opposites but complements --
parts of the same picture.
the oil sketches both paint qualities, body and color, are used to express
the power of light. While doing these paintings, I became aware that many
of the scenes were along the roads to and from my parentís home. They
are the coastal scenes of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
After a decade of exploring, one of my overwhelming conclusions is how
much things will and have remained the same. An understanding that place
and materials suggest the use and possibilities for a site. Not only are
these paintings glimpses into a nostalgic past, but visions of the future.
Here in the new millennium, these farm homes, their unchanged basic
designs, outlive the already dated visions of the future.
newer paintings are some steps closer to the edge of creativity. These
paintings are starting to explore the more expressive characteristics of
the subject and media. It is too early to know what I will find in these
paintings. But as I show these works, some people say they are paintings
full of storms and disaster; I see the nurturing rains having just past
and the future bright with promise.
can be a metaphor for light and the act of painting can be a metaphor for
the journey of life.
-- Ray M.