I am currently into the second year of a 33 year plan. My goal is to reach 100 with vitality, creativity, passion and as much beauty as possible. Plato believed deeply in the objective reality of the Good, the True and the Beautiful and my life has been a pursuit of each. The first third was all about finding the Good. The second third I focused on the True and now, at the beginning of the last third I am giving myself over to a full on search for Beauty. Thus all my art is dedicated to the discovery, exploration and creation of beauty, especially as it appears in Nature.
To quote the esteemed Jungian psychologist, James Hillman:
“That the world is loveless results directly from the repression of beauty, its beauty and our sensitivity to beauty. For love to return to the world, beauty must first return, else we love the world only as a moral duty: Clean it up, preserve its nature, exploit it less. If love depends on beauty, then beauty comes first, a priority that accords with pagan philosophy rather than Christian. Beauty before love also accords with the all-too-human experience of being driven to love by the allure of beauty” (from “The Practice of Beauty” in Uncontrollable Beauty, ed. Bill Beckley, with David Shapiro).
Said more simply, once we encounter beauty in a person or a thing we fall in love and once we fall in love beauty abounds. I believe that an artist can truly make a difference in this world if she or he seeks and creates beauty. I want to do my part.
I grew up in the Deep South immersed in an evangelical Christian subculture that sought the Good with a vengeance and thought it possessed the only True that existed. Beauty was not on the agenda as is often the case in any repressive regime. Art, in or near church, was unknown. The walls were bare, the windows clear and the ceilings simply functional. Life was defined in blacks and whites both racially and religiously. I was introduced to color only in my boyhood ventures into the swampy land around a small creek that flowed a half mile from my home. It was here I was forever touched by a rainbow of vibrant color that has enthralled my heart to this very moment. Were it not for the verdant swamp I suppose I would be as color blind as the true believers who raised me and beauty would remain an idea-bud that never blossomed.
I remained Nature bound in my experience of art until I was 26 years old when I went to Italy. It was my first encounter with art of any kind and it was astounding! I have no idea why but this experience has been repeated in my life in other situations. My first bull fight was Madrid and my first major league baseball game was when I sat in the owner’s box. It seems I have been three times blessed with the rather unique experience of going from no experience to the best of the best. My art introduction touched a place in my soul that resonates to this day. Baseball and bullfighting are pleasant memories but art brought me to Beauty and Beauty has brought me to love.
I came to photography in 1971 when I first went to Italy but the technology was so unwieldy and expensive I could not sustain it. Finally, in the last decade, digital cameras and Photoshop have given me the tools and freedom to create in print what my mind has ached to make a reality for my entire life. Now every object of Nature presents itself to me as a palette and every flower begs to reveal its majesty as I explore the myriad possibilities made possible by my camera and computer. The entire process from walking in a meditative state in woods and parks to taking pictures and then exploring the combinations of colors and design on the computer is a joy.
Once each piece feels complete then the final part of the creative process must occur; it must be seen and enjoyed by another human being. Then the process is consummated and I feel a sense of peace.