Many years ago, when I was copying paintings at the Prado and the Met, out of the corner of my eye, I would watch tourists stand in front of incredible paintings for 5 seconds before moving on. One after another. Eventually, they’d get to the painting that I was copying, and they’d linger, looking at the painting, looking at my copy. I could almost hear them thinking, “Why is he copying this one? What’s so special about it?” That’s when I realized that one of the gifts that artists have is they get to point things out, to get people to look a little more closely. Our interest becomes infectious.
Since I paint in a kind of “realist” tradition, there is so much great work to be influenced by. But I decided long ago, that those paintings, those styles, are rooted in their time. It makes no sense to make work like that today. I’d much rather paint pictures that could only be made now, about the life that I know, even if it may seem boring or like nothing is going on. Because if you stop to look—and think and feel—we are all so very lucky to be alive in 2021.