The Paterson Paintings
This is not a project I came to with initial enthusiasm. I didn't want to spend more than a year drawing Paterson, NJ, but was lured into it, gently and persistently, by my friend, Bob Demarest. Bob grew up there long ago, when the city was vital and filled with industry. He had a deep desire to revisit it, to find what he might.
My dear, dear friend needed a sidekick, a painting buddy, and sometimes a driver. Together, we shared how he came to be who he is. That he wanted me to make this journey with him is one of the finest compliments of my life.
I found my own fascination with Paterson. In a downtown long forlorn, amidst the brickwork and ruins of derelict factories and mills, there is rebirth. I encountered dignity and curiosity. When I set up and painted, I had conversations all day with kind, interested folks. Many returned later to see how I had progressed. I didn't expect that, but Paterson is full of surprises. The second largest waterfall in the east is right in the middle of it, and is at the heart of one of our nation's newest National Parks! It's easy to see why. What is easily overlooked - unless you spend real time there - is that visual poetry is everywhere. Some of my best (and hardest) work came looking sideways at a place I didn't want to portray. Thank you Bob!