The ruins of Torre Salvana, Castle Santa Coloma de Cervello inspired the composition of the painting. My intention is simplicity, a few open passageways that lead the eye to the other side of thick walls. The dominant element is shape, mostly high key (light) rectangular shapes accented with triangular, low-key (dark) shadow shapes. The color is meant to be playful and not distracting.

Simple? No. Any painting that is not totally abstract tests my drawing skills. In this case, it is the ability to manipulate perspective. The ruins of the 12th century castle that sits high on a hill above the small village of Colonia, Spain is an M. C. Escher dream, or a C. R. Carter nightmare depending on my ability to control my love of mathematical puzzling.

I thank James Paterno, my eighth grade algebra teacher for fueling my passion for the manipulation of figures and shapes. With little more than a devilish smile he jumped from complex equations to drawing a “sniffer” using only geometric shapes.

My dad, trained as an electrical engineer, I can thank for my dedication to perspective. Before he could even think about liking one of my paintings, he would point out any aspect of the drawing that was not in proper perspective and comment on the lines that were not perfectly straight. Good old Dad. It was only three years ago that he opened his heart to my abstract work. In spite of his criticism he always offered to loan me his ruler. He encouraged me to face the challenge of drawing and painting and to learn the necessary skills to draw buildings and objects “properly”. Now it is my turn to challenge him. At the age of eighty-five he is beginning to see the beauty in crooked lines.

For me, the world around me formed a mosaic of abstract forms, lines that danced, unrestricted across fields, city streets and through forests. Shapes expanded and contracted like sheets billowing on a windy day, held back from flight by only a couple of wooden clothespins. I’ve always had a strong sense of line, shape and value, balancing them precariously on my page so as not to lose the sense of rhythm and motion that I love, or to diminish the space created on my page, a space so vast I get lost in it. Though I prefer painting abstractly, I return to representational painting to exercise my power of observation.

The painting of Torre Salvana will only appear simple if the outlying walls are drawn correctly. The central archway presented an optical illusion that has caused me to redraw the structure each time I have added another layer of glaze. I thought I had solved all of the perspective in the original charcoal sketch. How wrong I was!

The painting is finally taking shape and the walls are opening up allowing that ambiguous space I love so dearly to fill the gaps between stone and brick while still giving an illusion of a flat shapes upon a flat surface.

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