I have been drawing and painting the city of Grand Rapids ever since I moved back here in 1987. I had just finished a graduate school program in painting at the University of Illinois and I came back to my home town with fresh eyes and newly honed art making skills. Both this city and I have grown a lot over the past 26 years. It has been wonderful to watch people move back into the heart of the downtown. Downtown used to be dead after six o'clock and now people are out walking to restaurants, shopping and walking their dogs. I have a deep love for this place and I can't help thinking that the city has been my muse over the years since I moved back home.
I am in the midst of planning the largest painting of my career. It will be a view of the city measuring eight feet by twelve feet. I will be painting on three cradled wooden panels that will bolt together. This is so I can get it in and out of my studio. This is the largest painting I can paint in my studio. I do not know where this painting will end up, I just know I have to do this for my self and for the city. I believe that something important and good happens when an artist fixes their gaze on their city to draw and paint it. I have even come to think of it as a form of prayer, a prayer that unlocks the potential greatness of a place. I firmly believe that as my city grows and blooms my family and I do as well because we are living in a dynamic relationship to each other.
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