Though I grew up in Wisconsin, childhood summers spent in the American west inspired in me a lifelong fascination with its iconography. And like many born during the baby boom my childhood was filled with the romance of the shiny TV cowboy. These sensibilities led me to my most recent group of paintings, inspired by Hartland-brand toy horses and riders from the 1950s and â€˜60s. In addition to the subject matter â€” classic vintage cowboys and cowgirls replete with tooled saddles and silver guns â€” I now find myself attracted to the challenge of capturing the shine of these hard plastic toys. I love the resulting subtleties of color that come from attempting to recreate their simply-colored, largely monochromatic forms.
The larger horse-and-rider pieces are a sort of â€œdoubleâ€ play on scale. The toys on which the pieces are based are 7â€ models of full-sized horses, turned around and painted again at almost full size but with none of the life intact. I find a certain humor in the figures though they can also feel a bit menacing at the same time. And at the heart of it there's always simple nostalgia.