In this etching from about 1980 (called Dunes at Sandy Neck
) one of my college instructors could see the beginnings of the abstraction that occupies me today. He thought that eventually, I would allow this kind of textural, organic imagery to stand on its own--that I'd let go of the self-portrait figure (seen here in the lower left) which I often used to anchor such landscapes in reality and to indicate my presence. It took years for me to fully process that rather casual remark, and to understand that my presence could be felt and implied rather than illustrated.
I'm posting this now because a few days ago I was once again walking in the dunes at Sandy Neck, a beautiful beach on Cape Cod. My father grew up near there, in Sandwich, MA. The beaches in that area of the Cape were important to me as a child growing up, when we would often spend several weeks there in the summers and at Christmas. This time I was there for a family reunion, and I felt a strong sense of reconnecting with artistic as well as family roots. It amazes me that certain themes reoccur throughout a life of art making--in my case, usually related to landscape or nature images. The dunes, marshes and beaches of the Cape continue to feed my imagery over time, even though I live very far from them now.
The family reunion itself was wonderful, and I came away with a much greater appreciation of my family's long history in New England, as well as for the interesting lives of various relatives that were there. There's one bit of news that I want to mention here, especially since there are a lot of artists who appreciate the music of Philip Glass (especially those with abstract or conceptual tendencies.) My 27 year old nephew, David Crowell
, a New York City based composer and saxophone player, has been chosen to perform in two concerts with the Philip Glass Ensemble--in London in October and at Carnegie Hall in NYC in December. What a huge honor--I'm really excited for him.