By allowing the freedom of natural phenomena to happen in my painting, I discovered my process of `Evaporations’. Much as Pollock dripped, Louis poured, and Frankenthaler stained, I place pools of color randomly on my support and allow puddles of pigment to evaporate, allowing nature to present the final result of my painting. This process results in a sensation of largeness, and an all-over, planar spatiality and flattening of space. The viewer deciphers his own image. Though my color selections might cause ambiguous inference, ultimately the painting is about the nuances or nature of color, resulting in organic form that works toward equilibrium. I have found formations common in nature very often evolve from this process.
During my time working with the AMY and Belle detector research projects at Virginia Tech and with the collaboration in Japan, I was influenced to look more closely at the pigment particles of paint and the properties and reactions they convey in and of themselves beyond the realm of simply creating a picture. By recognizing paint particles as my subject, I began to use the product of my science work in my paintings and developed my ‘Evaporation’ process further.
When I worked for World Physics Technologies, Inc., Blacksburg, Virginia, I processed CdZnTe (Cadmium Zinc Tellurium) and CdSTe (Cadmium Sulfide Tellurium) crystals for researching their use as semi-conductors for medical, military, and industrial applications. This involved photographing each crystal with digital photography, mapping and photographing with infrared photography through a macroscopic lens, cutting the crystal, polishing, and gold plating the crystal for testing. Results were obtained through conductivity resistance and spectroscopy testing components, signal readout, and spectra acquirement software.
As I polished the crystals, I would see a landscape pattern on the polishing plate when I lifted the crystal for inspection. I began printing each crystal image on high quality paper each time I polished and inspected. I never found two images alike.
I also noticed the material that collected during the polishing contained very fine particles of color. I stored the material in bottles, took them to my studio, and experimented with adding the pigments and a binder combination to my Evaporation painting processes. This resulted in a dendritic flow, spiral, and concentric shapes occurring in the paintings where the CZT or CdST lay.
Through spontaneous responses to color and shapes in the scene before me, I make quick gesture marks that describe nature’s work. I make paintings with the colors I absorb from nature. I free myself of the photographic image first envisioned and allow sense and gesture to describe the subject without detail. Rather than concern myself with abstraction, surface, or flatness, I consider my gesture and response from one color to the next the most important factors for these images. This immediate spontaneity results in the flattening of the scene by quick eye and body movement. Depth is realized by my closer observations of nature, resulting in more deliberate marks and color choices. Instead of tiresome detail, I recreate secret, colorful little spots of energy that I find in nature. Recently, I have been using found materials for new expression in painting.
When I am painting outside, in the landscape, or still life in the studio, I am creating my impression of that subject during a very short period of time, perhaps three to four hours of working time at the most. I use minimal strokes of paint to say a lot about the scene before me. And I never touch the painting again except to varnish later.
This is some of the most rewarding use of time I have experienced. These paintings have beautiful little spots of color, like jewels, that just overwhelm the senses. Nature is always revealing new color and energy that I try to recreate.