About This Series
In September of 2003, in search of inspiration and solitude I embarked on a self-financed, five-month landscape painting expedition through the United States. I had finished my studies at the Pennsylvania Academy and I felt a compelling need to experience more of the world, to test out what I had learned, and divide what was useful from what was dogmatic. Until that point I had never been anywhere west of Pittsburg.
Painting daily in plein air, I traversed twenty-five states. I encountered first hand the effects of light found in different regions and observed how the crystalline qualities of air at high elevations along the continental divide compared to the murky humidity of the deep south. The cumulative benefit of this exposure was a broadening of my artistic vocabulary. The paintings in this series represent a visual travelogue, a record of aesthetic discoveries.
The journals document discoveries of a different kind. They contextualize the sketches in a personal framework. I was by turns exultant, defeated, miserable, and ebullient. I spent many days and nights without talking to a single soul, only to find myself subjecting strangers to lengthy quandaries on the meaning of life. I set out to learn some essential things about painting and ended up learning much about myself.
A single step…
I’ve kept up all the appearances, I’ve planned, I’ve studied, set goals, attended dutifully to debts, and said all the necessary goodbyes. I’ve done all that I can to insure my friends and family that I will be okay out here, living out of a van alone for the next three months. I myself have doubts. I’m not even sure why I’ve decided to do this, except that I have to do “something”. I could probably trace this whole trip to a singular night in Philadelphia.
I’ve never been one of those unambiguous souls who sleep easily. Some nights I pass in a surreal half-sleep, attempting to paint an impossible nose on air, or obsessed over some situation from the day before. Hours pass, and I probably doze-off from time to time, but in the morning there is only … Read More »