Assateague Island

In 2014, I retired from the National Park Service and we moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Since then, I have made many paintings and drawings of Assateague Island National Seashore. Most of them are not of specific places, but are images that seem to me to be iconic of the landscape and are reimagined compositions using these primary elements.

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Assateague Landscape. Acrylic on canvas 36" x 48" 2020

Acrylic on canvas 36" x 48" 2020. This is a composite of several views from Assateague Island. I have for a long time wanted to get more life into my landscapes. What I see looking around me in the park are the rich quantities and varieties of birds.

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Untitled Seascape

Acrylic on canvas 36" x 48" 2020. I wanted the viewer to be almost in the wave. The image of the moon is an attempt to show its unseen connection with the tides of the ocean.

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Plein Air Painting from the beach

Acrylic on Board. 12" x 24". 2016. I spent three days on the beach at Assateague Island trying to learn how to paint waves. This was the most successful and was the impetus to paint the large painting above.

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Pastel on Arches Paper. 22" x 30". 2016. This is a highly stylized view of an important small ecosystem on the bay side of the island. The mussels are submerged during high tide and exposed during low tide. The actual mussels are only about an inch or so long and are much more compacted together than in this drawing; however, I wanted to create an illusion of scale similar to a monumental landscape of cliffs and trees.

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Acrylic on Canvas 36" x 48". 2018. I was thinking about the jungle paintings of Henri Rousseau. I liked the way he created layers of stylized forms and I wanted to make the scene from the bird's point of view.

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Acrylic on Canvas 24" x 36" 2020. Thinking about Monet's Water Lillies, I wanted to try and paint my own version of water and light.

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Acrylic on Board. 16" x 20". 2018. I wanted to energize the scene of a typical bay side inlet. I found an image from the internet of a random group of young people wading in the ocean and included them into the composition.

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Purple Landscape

Acrylic on Canvas. 12" x 24". 2018. This view of a thin pine forest stretching into the back bay, with light filtering through the trunks and surrounded by marsh is a typical scene that I frequently like to paint.

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Cloudy Landscape

Acrylic on Canvas. 16" x 20". 2018.

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Red Water Green Clouds

Acrylic on canvas. 36" x 48". 2015 (private collection). Like the painting of egrets above, I wanted an intimate scene of a marsh landscape. The tranquil night scene is contrasted with the active green clouds and the underlying red in the water. When I was very young living in Lubbock, I was always worried about the threat of tornadoes. The sky will turn a strange color of green when a tornado is imminent.

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Abandoned Boathouse on Assateague Island

Acrylic on canvas. 24" x 36". 2016. When the park was created, its intent was to preserve the natural landscape of an undeveloped barrier island. Previously, a developer had tried to develop the island into a residential version of Ocean City. As the park developed, NPS gradually acquired the private in-holdings. I have stabilized or restored many abandoned houses at Gettysburg and New River Gorge National River. I have always been fascinated by the strange quality of vacant and deteriorated buildings. For me, these have the feeling of a modern equivalent of the ruins of classical and medieval Europe. By now, this small structure has probably totally collapsed.


Valentine House

Black pastel on tracing paper. 22” x 30”. 2020. Another abandoned house on Assateague Island.

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Light on Water

Acrylic on canvas 24" x 48" 2015. Our house in Berlin has a view of a large pond populated by a variety of water birds, especially ducks and Canadian Geese. I wanted to paint a natural scene, but one that had some sort of focus to animate the composition. My first title was "still life with scale figures".

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Plein Air: Big Egging Island, Assateague Island

Acrylic on Plywood. 24" x 36". 2016. I do not do many plein air paintings. I find that my method seems to include the element of time, which forces me to make continuous readjustments that sometimes drastically change the tone or composition. Nonetheless, I spent four days painting Egging Island on the bay side of Assateague. This was a larger painting that was preceded by five others.



Acrylic on canvas 24" x 36" 2014. I grew up in West Texas where we had powerful winds and dust storms. This area also has some powerful winds and this is a response to my first nor'easter.