Close To Home
Five years ago, I climbed up a ladder in the Art Room of the New Bedford Public Library so I could peer down at the restoration in progress of Alfred Bierstadt’s Mount Sir Donald. It was impressive to see, but what stole my heart that day was a small painting on the far wall by another New Bedford painter, Charles Henry Gifford. Sunlight from a large side window made Coastal Scene with a Gundalow glow with an ethereal quality. It captivated, inspired and challenged me to find my own way to convey the timeless and luminous quality of the landscape that is my home.
It took a walk along Fairhaven bike path to make me think it might be possible. As the mist coming off the salt marsh diffused the morning light, I wondered if Bierstadt or Gifford, who spent their early years in this community, had ever watched the sunrise from this same vantage point. I began to envision a series of Southcoast landscapes in a Hudson River School style - images of the present and an imagined past.
While the Luminist painters of the past used glazing, varnishing and secret recipes to create the luminous lighting in their work, I use modern digital printing on translucent vellum with hand-applied precious metal leaf. The gilding creates a unique sense of luminosity and an atmosphere of mystery. The image subtly shifts as light moves across the surface or the viewer changes position. These are prints that need to be experienced in person.