The Northwoods have been my source of inspiration for my entire artistic career. The vast stretch of pine, spruce, and birch trees, the countless lakes, and the inhabitants, both human and animal have fed my imagination and vision.
During the past decade I have made more than twenty extended canoe trips into Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario. Some of these have been alone, some have been with many students working in my Canadian Canoe Workshop sponsored in the summer program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Recently my attention has turned northward even farther. I have canoed on the Moose River to the mouth of James Bay, where I worked in the tidal flats inhabited by geese and Cree Indians.
It is my wish that the viewer be able to share in my excitement and the wonderment aroused by this magnificent landscape lying at our northern doorstep.
A word or two about the frames on my paintings… One of the fondest memories and more enjoyable experiences of my life has been to spend time in old cabins and resorts in northern Wisconsin. Many of these are paneled with knotty pine boards. These boards have become a rich transparent reddish-brown color because of the passage of time. They have accumulated a romantic history. Their finish speaks of the kerosene lanterns that provided the light, the fireplace smoke, the cigar and pipe smoke of hundreds of occupants and probably several hundred pounds of bacon being fried on the wood cook stove.
I have long wanted just such wood to frame my paintings in order to lend them some of that rich history. But I couldn’t bear to tear the wood off an old cabin, so I have had to settle for the results I could achieve with a combination of stains, paint and varnish. The results have not yet duplicated the real thing. With some of the paintings I have decided to simply place a varnish on dear wood and let time darken it and let you provide the romance and history which my favorite old paneling possesses. These frames are too light right now, but within a few years they will have darkened, and in a decade or two they will look great. I hope you have the patience to participate in this creative aging process.
The best response to my paintings would be for you to march right out of the gallery and go straight to the wildest piece of land you can find and sit down to let it wash over you and tell you secrets.