Although I began working with watercolor rather late in life, it immediately seemed like the perfect medium for me. I started as a plein air painter and in a single afternoon I could attempt to convey what attracted me to a particular place and share with a future viewer just what it was that I found so lovely or compelling I especially liked the way watercolor seemed to have a mind of its own, not unlike a misbehaving child who needs guidance and discipline, but whose spirit and energy is best preserved. Mastering watercolor, it seemed to me, was often knowing when to let the medium have its own way, and when to firmly establish your own control.
When painting outdoors selectivity was also key. I knew that in the few short hours I had before the light changed and that unique moment was lost for eternity, there was no time to report every detail. Sometimes my best paintings succeeded not so much because of what I put in, but because of what I left out. My favorite watercolors, both my own and those of other artists, are the ones that best exploit the nature of the medium itself, that incorporate the drips, runs, splashes and splatters impossible to achieve with any other medium.
On October 29, 2012, hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast and my oceanfront neighborhood of Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, as well as adjacent Coney Island, was among those areas hard hit. Newspaper analysis of the disaster and of future climate change suggested that the coastal areas of New York City might not endure for perpetuity. After it had almost washed away, I suddenly realized and appreciated the unique character of the place where I had lived my whole life in a way that I never had before. It seemed so obvious what a rich wealth of images abounded all around me -- the beach, boardwalk, amusement area, streets, merchants and especially the elevated train system that towers above the major avenues and links our area to the rest of the city.
I would like to create works that capture all the strengths and vulnerabilities of both these natural and man-made structures. This has meant, among other things, working much larger and on rougher paper. It has also meant working more often from photographs but allowing memory and personal experience to have an influence as well. Now, as I try to apply the unique properties of watercolor to a new and grittier subject matter, the possibilities are endless and I can’t wait to see where the process takes me and my art.