Tuesday, January 15, 2013
For me, Saguaros feel to me a bit like it must feel for those musicians who play greatest hits for the fans. Since I moved to Arizona, now nearly ten years ago, I have been captivated by these large desert dwellers. I have told friends that they seem to me to be one of the only plants that are almost anthropomorphic - I have always had the feeling that when I was around them, I was not alone. And I don't have a mystical bone in my body. The towering presence of these beautiful cacti have impressed on me something that could not help but come out in my paintings of this region. Once I remember a gallery director telling me that many artists paint saguaros "almost as if they have never even taken a look at them". He told me that I always captured something about their own individual uniqueness. (Picture those old Roadrunner and Coyote cartoons, and the saguaro by the road, two arms bent upwards. Typical!) It was quite a compliment. I went on to tell him that when I go out on a trail to take photos that I will later paint from - I always look for either single saguaros or groups of them that are unusual, or which strike my eye as a kind of curiosity. I don't look for the typical ones. Of course they do exist, but I have always preferred those that showed true originality of shape and natural design.
So this show is my tribute to those "Giants of the Desert" - those amazing and beautiful icons of natural Arizona. I have never tired of looking at them, nor have I ever tired of painting them. They have been created by the small progress of decades or even hundreds of years. To capture them with brush and canvas seems just as natural to me as those rocky hillsides they inhabit.