Trained as a graphic designer but always an artist at heart, I was first inspired to paint the landscape after working three seasons as a wildland firefighter. Never having spent much time outdoors, I worked weeks at a time with my crew digging fireline, monitoring fire behavior, hiking, and sleeping under the stars. I was deeply moved by the stunning vistas and by the fierce beauty of nature. In each painting I use my training as a designer to intuitively construct simple yet powerful designs reflecting the pure wonder I feel when outdoors.
The most important practice in my development as an artist has been extensively painting on location, or en plein air. Through direct observation I capture the effects of light that often are lost in photographs and use the studies to create a more beautiful and compelling work in the studio. In my mind a painting is not complete, whether created in the studio or on location, until it conveys both the appearance of a place and the feel of a specific moment: the smell of dust, the hot sun, or the cooling shade of a passing cloud.
Recently I have been exploring my homeland, the landscapes of Eastern Washington and Oregon, painting iconic locations such as Hells Canyon and Dry Falls. When confronted with the unique geology of these areas I am reminded of the overwhelming sense of awe I felt as a wildland firefighter. When people see my work depicting these often overlooked landscapes I'd like them to taste the desert air, feel the sun on their skin, and see the splendor of the wild places around all of us.