My current oil paintings center on landscapes of rural scenes. As I grow older and prepare spiritually for my death, I want to record special moments in this fantastic life so that I never ever forget the path of light passing across a tree or trodden path.
Of course painting so that I can remember this life begs the question of where I will be when I do my remembering. But I can attest that this act intensifies the present moment. And about the past, I might better have been less busy working and busier noticing more around me in my natural environment.. While I always liked to draw and paint since early childhood, I believed that written communication was superior to visual art to inform, inspire and create meaning for both the giver and receiver. And yet, while I was a graduate student at Berkeley getting a PhD in writing, I researched the visual representation of language and “visual thinking” in general. I began to teach students to visually represent their college essays to look for balance, proportion, part-to-whole relationships, and order. I sometimes asked students to use color-coding for written sections and to represent their topics and points as shapes to check for weight of significance. Of course I did not make this mandatory for I learned that not everyone can “see visually” as metaphor, for some 10% of people lack this aptitude, and certainly should not be required to do so in a college English class. But many of the students responded well to this suggestion and reported that it helped them in designing their verbal texts. Meanwhile I was creating both visual representations of my psychology in art therapy and illustrating in abstraction great works of English and American literature. I was always trying to represent language in visual form, the way I felt and thought, and the first concepts that I had always translated into language when I wrote. So I suppose it was with great relief that I had a chance to take art classes while teaching English at Feather River College. After several years of those formal classes, and a few years of workshops and daily painting, I retired from teaching so that I could be involved in Main Street Artists Gallery in Quincy. Age has brought some wisdom: Of course visual art is as powerful as language art. I suppose it is a cliché to return to the activities of your childhood when you are old. But the sense of completeness in doing so, of a circle of life in one lifetime, is great. We should all go out with a box of crayons, or Legos or toy trains.