One day, I was painting a stand of fir trees, when I heard the cry of a distressed hawk. From the lake’s edge, I saw two huge birds chasing another bird that was slightly smaller. From the white underbelly, I identified the smaller one as an Osprey, leaving the two larger ones as Eagles. The pursuit was relentless. I thought to myself, “they really want to kill him.” The Osprey made quick...
Man with two Horses
One summer in Colorado, I was hiking alone and taking a short cut across some fields. I hopped over a fence and into a pasture where two horses were grazing. Stopping to play my didgeridoo, which served both as a walking stick and instrument, I found a melody that captured my sense of tranquility. I offered the sound of my drone as communication to the horses, who ceased munching and lifted...
"A Journey Back"
About half a year after completing my apprenticeship with Odd Nerdrum, I asserted my independence by revisiting my prior interests. These paintings included images of water and urban environments. I was eager to re-explore that which was tabooed in Odd’s circle. However, these landscape paintings didn’t contain the same emotive force as figure paintings. I found myself, once again, driven to...
For a few winter months, I lived together with another young artist in Iceland. Our routine involved taking turns modeling for one another’s paintings. The seasonal lack of light compounded the intensity of long painting hours and had a mercurial effect on our moods. Excursions to the local geothermal-heated pool was essential. Through the physical exertion, we could escape the trappings or...
I was hiking in the mountains of North Carolina the morning after some very heavy rains. Strolling along, I noticed that the river was at flood levels. Then hearing screams coming from upstream, I turned and saw a boy in an inner-tube, in a total state of panic. I moved swiftly from the trail to the bank of the river. When the boy saw me onshore, he tried to step out of his tube to reach out...
One day, I found in Odd’s studio a small nordic boat on a shelf, behind a stuffed arctic fox. Immediately, I desired to invent a composition to include the beautiful little vessel. But I was not sure what that would be and for a few weeks it sat on the windowsill next to my easel. Then, I found a small toy horse, probably left behind by one of Odd’s children. Its velvet coat reminded me of the...
I began the painting “Hestar”(Icelandic for horse) in Norway in late August 2006. Odd Nerdrum and I were painting while assistants or his wife held her in place. Odd was very excited that only Caravaggio had made a major painting of a horse from life, (The Conversion on the Way to Damascus). Others had used stuffed leaping horses, which greatly confused the study of the horse gait and later...
"Painting in the Dark"
In 2006 I traveled to Norway to become Odd Nerdrum’s apprentice. Shortly after I arrived, he and his wife, Turid, moved me to their house in Reykjavik, Iceland, which was originally built as the old city library. It turned out to be like a housesitting gig. On the night before they headed back to Norway, Turid casually mentioned over dinner that the house is haunted. Odd interjected that it...
The painting “Solstice Midnight” depicts a woman kneeling in a geothermal heated river in the wilds of Iceland. It was the summer solstice of 2007 and I convinced a friend to join me on an adventure to commemorate the longest day of the year. We drove two hours south from Reykjavik to a trail head that follows a river. The two-hour hike upstream was on a narrow and often treacherous path. In the...