“We work in the dark, we do what we can, we give what we have, Our doubt is our passion, And our passion is our task, The rest is the madness of art…”—Henry James

Paintings are sneaky. You either try to figure them out or you glance and move on. There are no words to direct your thoughts. The game is whether the imagery is strong enough to stop you.

I paint because I’ve always made pictures and I like making pictures. Do I try to say something, to reach people with the pictures? Yes. Or I wouldn’t show them.

The natural world, the forms of nature, are inescapable. Water, earth, sky. Much of this natural world is in danger from us, and yet will close its verdant arms over our works in a few short years if we stop destroying and chipping away at it.

As I paint recognizable things, I am often drawn to the paradox, the point of tension, between what humans make and what nature takes back: the derelict building, the neglected bridge; nature persisting. History, death, the cycle of living things.

And, just maybe, art is prayer.

Here and There: “Plein Air” Oils, Watercolors and Acrylics


Because, as Buckaroo Banzai said,
“Wherever you go, there you are.”

In the spring of 2007 I began painting weekly with the “Newburyport Ten”, a group of plein air artists based in Newburyport, Massachusetts, who combine their enthusiasm for art with a warm, lively and supportive fellowship.

While I have always painted outdoors, even more of my work since that meeting has been artwork created en plein air—along with some interiors painted on-site—in New England and while traveling in Canada, the U.S., and Europe. Plein air painting is an exhilarating challenge for one’s eye and skill: the pattern of light is fleeting, weather changes, cloud patterns emerge and disappear. The goal is to listen to the heartbeat of a place; to note what captures the eye and render it as directly as one can.

Studio Work

painting of pitcher plants

Work completed from my sketches and/or photos. Work that manifests from somewhere else. Who knows? These are the anomalies, the explorations. They may become the path. A path.

Life changes. Everything is fluid. Who knows?

MJ Home