As an undergraduate, I studied with Miguel Arguello, compatriot of a legendary Spanish realist painter, Antonio Lopez Garcia. This was a tradition of Realism as a form of meditation -- quite different from the practice of Photorealism. For these artists a single painting could entail years of contemplative study of reality's many layers. This process of reverent observation served me well in the transition from physics to art. It dovetailed with my longing to make sense of the physical world as well as my love of observation and drawing. Though my work soon stopped looking realistic in this (seemingly) straightforward way, it has nevertheless always been informed by the discipline of being awake to the forming moment of awareness. Another influential teacher, Patrick Ahearne, left an even more lasting impression that would not begin to show up, however, until graduate school. His deep knowledge of painting and passion for formalism gave me a lifelong reverence for the language of painting. This language was understood, above all, to be a language of relationships. Delacroix famously said "Give me mud, let me surround it as I think fit, and it shall be the radiant flesh of Venus." The spectacular way colors can appear not only different but opposite, when surrounded differently, has been dramatically demonstrated in the color exercises of Josef Albers. Understanding this principle was at the heart of my study of painting as an expressive language. The usefulness of this principle is not limited to color, form and texture; it also yields happy insight into the organization of sound, idea, word and deed. I have brought this "painterly" approach to bear on every aspect of my artmaking, including the inseparable artform of composing a life.
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