You are known for your beautiful landscapes capturing scenic vistas. Your images of the Berkshires are particularly stunning. Tell us about your response to what you see here in Berkshires and how it serves to inspire your work?
The Berkshires is particularly inspiring with its open vistas, and unique light. Land preservation is a passion of mine, so I appreciate the amount of untouched land, and all of the work that the Trustees of Reservation have done in Massachusetts. Bartholomew's Cobble, for instance, is one of my favorite spots in the Berkshires.
On a typical day, I'll head out as early as possible, especially when I'm painting a river, or lake. I find the reflections are the most compelling early in the morning before a breeze picks up and turns the water to a uniform blue.
What are your favorite views and what goes into setting up a composition?
Ashley Falls, Tyringham, the Stockbridge Bowl, and Ice Glen Road in Stockbridge are a few of my favorites.
Setting up the composition is definitely the most important step in a painting. If one starts with a weak composition, then it doesn't matter how well it's painted. I try to focus on creating interest in the foreground, middle ground, and the background. Some of my favorite subjects have roads, or meandering streams, that lead the eye into the painting.
You paint en plein air almost exclusively...what do you most enjoy about that?
My favorite part of being a plein air painter is the people that I meet while I'm out painting. People will often stop by every day to watch the progress on a painting, or just to say "hello." It makes every day interesting, and different, and there are so many bright, fascinating people in the Berkshires.
You not only seem to forge a relationship with the land you paint, but also the clients who commission your work. Tell us about how those relationships might factor into your creative process.
I have wonderful collectors, many of whom have become friends. When I'm commissioned to do a painting, I try to work with them to get a feel for what their vision is, and then find a composition that will, hopefully, capture, or enhance, that vision.
The Berkshires area boasts many who are passionate about the arts; who among them are your favorites up here?
Obviously, there's tremendous creative talent in the Berkshires. James Taylor is an icon, and yet, he and his family couldn't be lovelier. Then you have Yo-Yo Ma, and all of the extraordinary talent at Tanglewood.
Whats your favorite art gallery in or near the Berkshires?
My favorite gallery is definitely the Harrison Gallery in Williamstown. Of course, you also have the world class Clark Museum, as well as the Williams College Museum (which, I discovered, has a painting of my great, great Grandfather, Amos Lawrence).
Who are your favorite artists and who most inspires you?
My favorite artists are Corot, Sargent, and many of the Hudson River School who also painted in, and around, the Berkshires.
Do you find there to be shared characteristics among the people drawn to this area? And what might they be?
I think that this area attracts bright, creative people who want what we were seeking when we left Manhattan. I also love the focus on the outdoors. I'd much rather meet someone for a hike in the country than for a drink in the City.
When not here, where in the world do you most enjoy painting?
There are so many wonderful places to paint. I was in Paris in April, and currently have commissions to do in London and Denmark. My new favorite place, though, is Lake George. Kensett has always been one of my favorite painters from the Hudson River School, and his Lake George paintings have always stood out as some of his best. I'm doing paintings for the wonderful old Sagamore Hotel, and it's humbling to get to paint in those locations where Kensett did.
Berkshire style is...
It's a beautiful, peaceful place to live, filled with interesting people, and yet close to New York City.