a divorce in 1979, I began trying to rebuild my world. I was
attending the School of Fine Arts at the University of Houston.
Watching the city boom around me as I traveled back and forth
to classes each day, I was infected with the spirit of growth,
reverence for architectural prowess, and renewed faith in
the accomplishments of man that seemed so pervasive in the
early 1980s. Those were the days of "Houston Proud" bumper
stickers, economic boom, towering cranes on every horizon,
Ronald Reagan, "Star Wars," space shuttles, and baby-boomers
entering their fathers' worlds with a new appreciation for
the work ethic. It was the shift from rebellion and "anti-establishment"
to love and awe towards that which we had taken for granted
and even disdained while growing up: Father, civilization,
Living beside the freeway gave me a wealth of subject matter
in my own backyard. I stopped short of setting up my easel
on the median and began to take mostly black-and-white photographs
of my environment. I used these for information while painting
in the studio. I began to see everything around me in terms
of paint: The reflections were scumbled onto Greenway Plaza,
the shadow lines under the spaghetti bowls and loops of freeways
were racing the traffic above, cement slabs were tabulae rasae.
Everything in the bright light of day, where one could see
for miles, was good. The city subjects spoke to me, driving
me to try rendering their magnificence. This outer world grew
in tandem with my inner world as I found new love and obtained
Just as every day has its night, so every boom has its bust,
and every inflation has its depression. Even though the world
view of these city paintings is one of sunlight and growth,
the portent is there for its reversal: streets are virtually
empty, construction sights are often abandoned, the shadows
are deep. The form is there but not its creator. By 1985-1986
the boom was over: OPEC was falling apart; loyalty to the
company was being rewarded with downsizing, reorganization,
and buy-outs; the Challenger had exploded. In short, Icarus's
wings were melting. By the time I painted Camelot on Old Katy
Road and The Ivory Tower (rice dryers) that site was abandoned,
and American Rice Industries on Studewood was soon to follow.
During this period my cityscapes became somewhat more reasoned
and formal, and I began painting in watercolor again.
Since that time I have raised a child in the rural retreat
of Wimberley. Here my environment still plays a big part in
my art. The truth is that these and all my paintings are representations
of the course of my development as an individual. Whether
it be city places, country places, indoor spaces, or inward
places, my art is a reflection of my life and psyche.