“As I was working on the current group of oil paintings for West End Gallery, I found that three comments kept circulating in my mind as I was working. One comment or statement was from my past, one statement just recently occurred in June and one, an unspoken comment, will surely happen in the future.

I have had the privilege to paint with Thomas Buechner and I recall something that he said in his studio, “Your technique is your signature.” This was a statement that for me was always tricky and it meant first that you have to paint with a style or technique that is unique. Next you have to recognize what you do as an artist that is unique and embrace your style. Regardless of the painting or subject matter, I tried to apply paint in a way that was energetic, interesting and unique.

While at a graduation party this summer, I told someone that I had recently retired from teaching. “What are you going to do?” he asked. Well, this, I hope. I hope the paintings that I am rolling out for this show act as a springboard for my retirement career as an artist. In time, how this show is received will determine how I spend the next phase of my life. I truly hope that what I do finds a connection. At my age, it may be difficult to pick up a new marketable skill.

Our family picked up a new addition with the arrival of Joey, our new Australian Shepard puppy. While Joe does not speak directly to me using words, he sends a pretty clear message to me when I’m working. While I’m trying to work, he will sniff around and start chewing on things; maybe a photo, maybe a tube of paint, maybe a paintbrush or perhaps a paper towel. To me, he is clearly saying, “Enough painting. I’m a puppy and it’s time to play with me!” In the days, weeks and years to come, he will be telling me the same thing when he drops into my studio workroom. Perhaps without speaking, Joey made the most important comment: Put the brushes away once in a while and do some other things!”

Brian M. Hart