“Drawing probably describes what I do most generally – graphite, charcoal, and pastel. Mixed media is a qualifier because I don’t tend to stop or limit myself to one [medium]. If one isn’t appropriate, I’ll try something different.
The thing I use most is called conté. It’s a mix between graphite and charcoal. It allows you to get a more precise line, like pencil, but it will also smudge and give you a darker mark like charcoal.
In these series, it’s always been an act of exploration. When I start, I have a rough idea of what I want, but it’s always ‘try something and see what works.’ I use friends and family because they’re patient and know what I’m going for. I set up lights to take photographs, and we take 60 to 80 pictures.
I comb through all those photographs looking for a set of three that strikes me as interesting, that bring out some aspect of the subject I wasn’t conscious of before. That’s part of the exploration. So I work from photographs as source material, partly because some hand gestures would be virtually impossible for someone to hold for very long.
I have a retirement exhibit coming up in the middle of January, so I’m trying to complete one more series in advance of that. I don’t want to say much more about that because I don’t know if that will work!
It’s called “Inside Voices,” and it will be at the Hershberger [Art Gallery in the lobby of Goshen College Music Center] on January 22 through mid-March.
Besides visual arts, I’m also a graphic designer and a musician. So I’m glad to talk about the visual arts stuff, but there are other ways I plug in.
I’m a bass player, so I play both upright and electric. I’m in a group called The Dawg, an acoustic folk trio in town. I play jazz on occasion, too.
Making music is a collective activity. It’s social, so part of the fun is being there with the other people, reacting at the moment, and crafting something together. When I’m working as a visual artist, the creative act is more personal and contemplative.
One of the things that’s been a delightful surprise when we came back to the area [from Montana] is that a critical mass of people in Goshen make the arts a vital part of their lives. It wasn’t that way when we left 30 years ago. You see that in individuals, and you see that in families. There are even organizations -– guilds – and you see businesses making the arts a cornerstone of what they do. It’s a privilege to be a part of that.
Goshen is a great place to live if you want the arts to be part of the way you live your life.”