I describe myself as a spectator. I am inspired by what I see. Often, it’s the sheer beauty of the landscape: the light, the sky or the shape and texture. It could the lights and geometry of an urban environment or the form and color of a single bloom. On other occasions it’s the people that I am drawn to and the stories that are implied by their appearances. Above all else I just love looking at paint and marvel at all the things it can do.

When I was a student, I once complained to a professor that I was having the equivalent of writer’s block. I could easily paint from observation, but I couldn’t think of any ideas. He said, “Maybe you’re like Monet. Monet always referred to himself as “just an eye”. As a kid I interpreted his comment as an insult. Now, years later, I embrace that description. I like to think of myself as an advocate of the overlooked. I am compelled to paint the “common” because I see it as an act of ennobling the familiar.

Rural images are a favorite subject of mine. I come from a family of farmers . Both my grandparents worked the land. A highlight of the many responses to this work has been receiving an invitation to participate in “Our Heartland: Contemporary Images of Rural Life”, an exhibition curated by Anastasia Shartin of Phipps Center for the Arts and co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute National Building Museum.