I fell in love with Ann when we were both 18. We just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. I always wanted to do a good portrait of her, but my attempts over the years were rarely satisfactory. In 2005, I had taken photos of Ann in my studio, some of them with that blue and gold brocade cloth as a backdrop. No painting came of those images. In 2010, I was about to photograph her again, but paused to have another look at the images from five years earlier. This painting was the result, and it satisfied me more than any previous effort. I hope it conveys her vivacity and warmth.
The cloth behind Ann has been in several still life paintings, most notably Bacchanal (2007). It is very difficult to capture in paint. I keep going back to it because I love the color and complex pattern, which to my mind convey both luxury and liveliness. It reminds me of one of my favorite painters, the 18th century portraitist Maurice-Quentin Delatour. The Louvre has many of his works, which I have been lucky to see in person. Delatour made pastel portraits, large for works on paper, in which the sitters are often dressed in magnificently patterned cloth. Matisse is another French painter whose love of pattern attracts me. He grew up in Bohain, a center of the cloth trade, and collected fabrics throughout his life, using some repeatedly, like the tablecloth in this 1909 still life.
I love talking about art. I get to do it in the classroom, in museums, and informally, with my students, colleagues and friends. Every now and someone asks me to speak about my art—a real privilege. Rarely, though, have I recorded or published any of those remarks. So, now, this website will include some commentary and news. For those of you who might be interested, I hope I can shed some light on the pictures I make.