Sometimes you wake up and find yourself in Seattle

Sometimes you wake up and find yourself in Seattle.  AGAIN.  I’ve been here for about a week now.

St Croix the morning I left (you’ll notice that the island is gearing up for another productive 3-drink morning…):

Buy 1 get 2

Seattle the morning I arrived:

Seattle Arrival

Open letter the Citizens of Seattle: you can stop telling me that “it isn’t usually this grey.”  I lived in this town for 9 years and I’m not interested in your lies.

But until coming back I don’t think that I fully realized how profoundly those 9 years influenced some really fundamental elements of my painting style.  At some point I did realize that I had stopped describing form through the use of light and shadow.  Why?  Because obviously where there is no sun (that right Seattleites: there is NO sun) there are no shadows.  I tend to use color to pull out form.  And those colors are all pretty uniformly dark and muddy.

Images of some pieces by the so-called “Northwest Masters,” a group of artists working in this valley in the 1930s and 40s (these particular paintings happen to be by Mark Tobey, Kenneth Callahan, and Morris Graves):


Images of some of my work:


Obviously the comparison is not direct, but the region’s influence is undeniable.  And while most of my conceptual concerns and those of the Northwest School diverge, like them I am also very submerged in the mystical; I am more interested in representing the light (and darkness) that my subjects give off and suck in rather than external sources of illumination.

I’ve got another 8 weeks here and I have to say that it’s exciting to be painting in the Grey Kingdom again.