surface noise One day in the early 90s Artist Ken Kelly said to me don't stop working on the surface of your painting~! As usual what seemed an innocuous comment led me to focus on what the surface of the painting was doing, and soon working on the surface became the key element. In fact the surface of the painting IS the painting, and the subject matter doesnít matter at all. The painting's soul is the surface - and the subject is along for the ride. Go ahead & quote me on that.

So then geometry came into play as a big part of what I was doing. I realized that dividing up a canvas into parts is important. At first I hadn't seen Mondrian's work as a division of an area, but go a step further, and use curves- and you get a tremendous wealth of possibilities. My style really is to DRAW - and so this leads to a cloisonnê ; and each field is its own scene- its own painting.

And now I think that if I were to step back and take in a painting - MY painting - each element is inside the next, like a Russian Doll. I never thought of this - but the fields are determined by the shapes of subject, the color is determined by the treatment of the surface. The balance is determined by the value- (the light or darkness) and the surface is determined by adding and subtracting: painting, then scraping with razor blades, then painting, then grinding with a belt sander. When I was doing oil pastel, the straight edge razor originally was only to erase the wrong color, but then I liked the scrape marks as well, so it stayed in.

"the painting's soul is the surface itself - and the subject is along for the ride..."


ripe One day in July of 1998 I was walking up the path. The tomatoes were getting ripe. They were like red beacons in a lighthouse- even though it was a sunny summer day.

About this time I had gotten my hands on an amazing and impossibly thick article by my friend Jim's Dad. Jim Tillman, famous as the Bass Player of the U-Men and Love Battery, is one of my oldest & closest friends. Mister Tillman, Jim's Dad, was a meteorologist for NASA. He was involved heavily in the Viking Project in 1975. Unaware at the time, Jim & I were out riding bicycles up and down the street. But years and years later later the technical paper by him concerning the atmospheric presssure on Mars found its way into my possesion. Even as an adult I was totally lost by the second sentence. But I was taken with the idea, and fascinated by the graphs.

And here I stopped on a quiet afternoon in my garden.- -Tomatoes. - Mars. - Mars.-Tomatoes. Hmmm. I started on the first of six paintings.


motocross They say that a Road Racer's career usually lasts about three years. I lasted seven before I found that I was burned out, no longer compelled, and one day Jonathan then came in and said that there was a Vintage Motocross Race down near Portland. Although outside my experience, it was cheaper and more fun that Road Racing had even been. And a lot more racing in a day. I was hooked - and that has lasted to the present day.

en-route to my first ever win
Woodland, December 1995

Paintings from this period



Mars 2

Get One Free


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