Creating large wall mural carvings and free-standing wood sculpture are recent endeavors. After retiring as a Parks and Open Space Director for local government, I was free to pursue this art. It is a continuation of my exploration of clay sculpture and plaster casting while in college and short stint as furniture maker.
Suburban life in northern New Jersey offered few opportunities to explore rural life and the wild habitats and aquatic intersections I revere as an adult. The riparian landscape around the Hackensack River, the minor remnant wooded fringes, and estuarine areas of the infamous Jersey Meadowlands attracted me like a magnet. Bird watching, fishing and wildlife photography in the small margins of habitat in Bergen County, New Jersey, were important to my development. On early bus trips to art, science and natural history museums in Manhattan, I journaled my observations in a long lost sketchbook. I read explorers and naturalists Earnest Thompson Seton, Gerald Durrell, Thoreau, Hans Hasse and Edwin Way Teale, hoping to see beyond what my own eyes could provide.
In spite of early visits to the long, wide farms of my father's beautiful North Dakota, it was a fishing trip to Molunkus Lake in South Aroostook, Maine, in 1962 that imprinted on my thoughts. The great grey skies over clear lake water, cool summer nights under the Milky Way, northern forest birds, raptors and their prey, all aggregated into a single sense of Maine. I found a spotted salamander, and it remains a jewel in my memory.
Back in Teaneck, New Jersey, I wondered at the distant view to the iron-rich escarpments in Paterson, where William Carlos Williams lived and wrote. I scribbled poetry into my wildlife observation journal and simple sketches of tracks in the snow. Then I was drawn to the colorful works of Audubon.
An early spring migration, at great altitude, of Night Hawks heading toward New England, against a far ground of solid-looking clouds, like a range of unknown mountains, guaranteed that I would return to Maine.
Following graduation from college in New Jersey were years in a small furniture and store display business, residential construction, non-profit social services, raising a wonderful daughter -- until legislative initiatives in Delaware attracted my attention. In 1988 a suite of environmental statutes faced strong opposition, but on the back of Delaware's successful 1971 Coastal Zone Act prohibiting new heavy industry in the sensitive estuarine regions of the state, a renewed corpus of activists was forming, and I committed myself to this.
Twenty-five years followed, including serving as Plaintiff in water quality litigation and friend of environmental suits, regulatory development, Commissioner of non-point Nutrient Management, officer to a Greenway Commission, Natural Areas Advisory Council, and Parks and Open Space Director for County Government.
Now residing in the Midcoast, Maine offers beautiful instances, momentary and grand, to convey through relief carving. Murals are my way of painting. Photography and simple sketches serve as a basis for my work. Pure nature and landscape themes intersecting in the moment of one's experience are my source and subject.
- "Winter Branches" and "East Wind Breakers" were juried and hung at the 2014 New Hope, Pennsylvania, Art Center's Annual "Works in Wood."
- River Arts jurors in Damariscotta hung "East Wind Breakers" in 2014 and "Constant Sea" in 2015.