The other afternoon, while we stared out the window, hunched over beers with our backs curved like beetles, someone asked me, “What are you trying to do in your paintings anyway?” I answered;
Well, I don’t know. It has something to do with the things that I see. I like to tell people about the things that I see. Like the time I saw a farmer, way off in the distance, plowing his field. He would just glide along. The haze in the warm air made it look surreal, almost ghostly. Or I’d like to tell about the time I watched the cat stalk a mouse. She was so still - a dark mound against a bright green field which was like moss because the cows had eaten the grass down so low. When finally she pounced, I watched her carry her mouse straight to the chicken coop where she sat halfway in and halfway out in the bright sunlight. Or maybe I’d tell about a line of white sheets in the wind or about the dazzling red and blue tattoos which run up and down Big Jim’s arm at the Applegate Tavern. Or I could tell about the time Frank and I climbed up the tree to watch baby owls. All they did was clack their beaks at us. It kind of echoed, it was so quiet up there and the wind rocked the tree back and forth. When it got dark we climbed down and on our way out of the woods we found an old white tub with weeds growing inside of it. (We were glad that it was just weeds and not someone with wild mushrooms growing out of their eyes.) And there was that time when we were playing horseshoes out back and heat lightening flashed in the dark. And I remember the time I saw an old man walk from his farmhouse to his roadside mailbox right after the mail-truck drove away. It took him a long time to get there, shuffling through snow. When he finally opened his box, there was one small, red card inside. I was glad for him - glad that he had a card to open and bring back to his farmhouse where he lived alone. I guess that’s it too; I guess that’s why I paint. I want to make paintings that can be like that small red card – to make something secret and wonderful for someone to open in a quiet, lonely place.