I believe that art should be created to reflect the beauty of the natural world and to link us to our place within it. This has led me to the development of a very personal art style. My painted works are almost exclusively created by using acrylics painted on western red cedar boards. My style is a fusion of three distinct cultural traditions: Northwest Coast Native 2-dimensional art, Celtic and Celtic Revival art, and Japanese painting and woodblock prints. I employ and blend each of these cultural art traditions in my paintings. The final component of each painting relates to the Arts and Crafts Movement and is seen in my hand-made oak frames used to complete the art. My 2023 painting OCEAN PEOPLE is a good example of how all of these art traditions have been fused into a single composition.
Black primary formlines painted
The first, fundamental phase of any of my paintings involves creating a formline structure which delineates the subject of the composition. This formline structure derives directly from Northern Northwest Coast Native art. Often these formlines are painted in black, blue, or brown and create the outline of the main subject. In OCEAN PEOPLE, the formlines for my orcas were inspired by the works of Master Haida artist Robert Davidson
Twilight blue entrelac painted
The second cultural component of my fusion style incorporates design elements from the rich Celtic art tradition. Spirals, knotwork, and other interconnected designs are often used within the regions created by the formline structure. In OCEAN PEOPLE, this can be seen in the interior regions of the large male orca. The Book of Kells and Celtic Revival entrelac seen in the metalwork of Manx designer Archibald Knox were the inspiration for these designs.
Kuniyoshi-style waves painted
The third and final component of my cultural fusion style derives from the compositional influences and design elements of Japanese art and craft. Japanese aesthetics seen in screen paintings, scrolls, and ukiyo-e prints emphasize such design elements as asymmetry, empty space, lack of perspective and shading, and the use of blocks of color. In particular, the Rinpa School has had a big influence on my art. For OCEAN PEOPLE, the design for my waves was inspired by the water design of Utamaro Kuniyoshi’s woodblock triptych “Miyamoto Musashi Subduing the Whale”.
Finally, the other internal regions of the orcas were painted, the eyes were painted in, and the painting was finished. One last step was to construct, finish, and attach the mortise-and-tenon frame.