The Crackled Surface

Those of you familiar with my relief sculpture know that my signature is the  crackled surface  as seen here on

“Amber Earth & Sky”  Amber Earth & Sky


As a painter, I’ve always been interested in surface as well as meaning. In my explorations of mixed media, I became intrigued with the idea of  the crackled surface. The inspiration for using it probably harks back to my youth, living in the countryside  close to the Earth and  being fascinated by the patterns in the drying mud as the ponds drew down in the summer heat.

crackled mud

In the 1990’s as I began experimenting with ways of making the crackled surface and ways of coloring it, I came to realize it is a visual reference for many other things that occur in nature–the veins of a leaf, the spider-web, the branching of tree growth, the patterns of the forest, blood vessels, reptile scales, dragonfly wings, an aged face.  It’s all of those things, because they all share a common underlying branched structure.  It is up to me to use it expressively, with or without the narrative.  I work color through the veined surface conveying emotion and ultimately thought and connection.  Connection because we recognize the  mystery of the similarities of different life forms.

In this recent series of “parallel paths”, the opposition to the fractured side is one expressing stable balance for the emotional life, allowing it to burst or seep forth, receiving it, supporting it, complimenting and yet giving tension enough to create movement.  The two together are an expression of life, a metaphor if you will for the patterns and coordination of life….the image of tranquil balance.

Parallel Paths e

36″ square.  Paint & acrylic emulsion on wood with stainless steel bar.  “Parallel Paths”

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