I am sharing some older paintings to give you guys an idea of where I come from visually. I decided to post a few paintings from college, and the years after. In this first post are some things from college. A lot of what I did back then was a maess, but there are a few things I treasured. The painting above was one of the last things I painted at Cooper Union before graduating. This is a studio on the 7th floor, directly above my own. I was struck by it one afternoon and went down to my own studio to attempt to paint it from memory. When I would get hung up on something I would run upstairs to study the room, and then go back down to my studio and keep painting. I have no idea why I decided to work that way, but it led to some interesting decision making.
This painting was done in my sophomore year at RISD. We were supposed to start thinking in terms of bigger projects and bodies of work, and what we wanted to say with our paintings. I soon learned that I was not at all good at talking about painting in this way. I just wanted to paint. Somehow I talked my teacher into letting me go out and paint on location. I walked down to the river and painted the center panel in multiple visits. The two side panels here were done from a friends roof, sitting on top of a dormer window, looking towards the same stretch of river. When I got them home I realized that they fit well with the center painting and have always seen them as a triptych since then. This was my last semester at RISD before transferring to Cooper Union. For scale, the center painting above is probably 14×20″.
When I first got to Cooper Union I did not know what I wanted to paint. I had a good experience painting the Providence River the year before and thought the challenge of water, would be a good one. I struggled and struggled with this painting, and the next one. I had no idea how I was doing, I just wanted to get the feeling of a certain type of day and a certain type of water.
These are both 5×3 foot paintings. After doing these I floundered around in my paintings for a long time. In my last semester I felt like things were coming together a bit, but the real breakthrough for me was getting away from the academic environment and painting for myself. I rediscovered the joy of making images, and in a very small but very helpful way, let go of some of my hangups. Painting became fun again.