Nagasaki Sketchbook Paintings 2020- 21
This group of paintings started in Nagasaki, Japan. When my wife and I go to visit her family, I often draw in my sketchbook. Over time I have amassed several sketchbooks full of ideas. The imagery is from parks, hospitals, temples, cathedrals, parking lots, the wharf, graveyards, shrines, museums, and other places I have visited while in this fascinating city.
I simply sit and draw what I see, for a limited time, then move to what comes next. I try and keep the sketches moving at the same speed as my perception and experience of the area. This process helps me to experience what this city and the people here are all about. The drawings are not completely observational, as some of my other work is- but are observations combined with interpretation and imagination. While I certainly lean toward specific symbolic or iconographical material as anchors in these paintings, I take joy in incorporating aspects of the everyday as well. An example would be drawing the bust of Mary from an historic cathedral, or a statue of the Buddha, alongside of a couple of common pigeons or a woman walking her dog. In painting as in life, these things all work together to make the full human experience.
From the sketchbooks, I form the paintings you see here. I have re- drawn them much larger, on canvas, and painted them. I work fairly quickly and instinctively with the paint. The goal is to keep the immediacy and spontenaiety of the sketches, while opening and deepening their meaning through color, texture, and value.
These paintings are derived from sketches I made when I visited Nagasaki in 2019. I am currently in the middle of the series and expect it will carry me into 2021.