“My years spent working in ports left me with an appreciation of the aesthetics of the maritime world: cargo vessels, ship’s hulls, train engines, rusty anchors, cranes, and heavy-lifting equipment. In other words, ‘big toys’.”
My friends know my painting style is eclectic. I paint everything from apples to wind. It’s what falls in between that’s most interesting.
However, my wind phase has caught the breeze again. From 2004-07 I painted wind turbines almost exclusively, resulting in several paintings being acquired by corporate and private collectors. Not surprisingly, the purchasers are connected in some way to the wind energy industry.
Recently a wind energy company commissioned me to paint larger versions of my original Primary Wind series – three paintings of wind turbines done in the primary colors of red, yellow and blue.
I am now happily ensconced in this commission, working every available minute on the three paintings, as you can see below.
Enlarging a painting isn’t always a matter of gridding up. In this case I had to make slight re-adjustments to the structure of the turbines. Making sure the turbines are as anatomically correct as possible is necessary for the composition of these paintings; my style is realism – no abstraction allowed!
Returning to the wind genre gave me an opportunity to reevaluate the circumstances that led me to painting the wind in the first place.
Ports + Big Toys = Wind Turbines
My years spent working in ports left me with an appreciation of the aesthetics of the maritime world: cargo vessels, ship’s hulls, train engines, rusty anchors, cranes, and heavy-lifting equipment. In other words, ‘big toys’.
But none left a bigger impression than the mammoth-sized cargo pieces that make up wind turbines. People who don’t work in the maritime or energy industry like to call them ‘windmills’ or ‘those tall wind thingys.’
Like the windmills that churned grain into flour in earlier centuries, these modern versions churn wind into electricity.
They arrive on ships from Asia, these hefty marvels of sleek engineering. They are a special type of cargo, called heavy-lift. I watched as skilled crane operators and specially trained dock workers moved them from ship to dock. Then heavy lifting equipment loaded them onto special trucks for transport to construction sites. I saw how they were assembled into working machines and even stood at their bases and heard the ‘whoosh, whoosh’ of blades as they churned wind into electrical power.
Wind Turbines + Artist = Painting the Wind
So being the artist that I am, amidst the world of maritime toys that paid my bills, I did what I do best, paint. I painted wind turbines, every evening after work. I painted them for several years. I painted them even when people asked me why I painted ‘those things’. I don’t know anyone else who’s painted them, and people often wonder why I paint them at all. They say, “Oh yeah, I’ve seen those things before,” then wander off to look at pretty landscapes.
That never stopped me. I continue to paint them, because that’s what artists do; paint what they choose to paint for reasons that have to do with themselves. I’m not saying I’ll always paint wind turbines, right now I have several figure and floral paintings in the queue. But wind turbines are a part what I have seen and done in my life. Thus, they have emerged onto canvas, like a hidden memory slowly exposed to the light.