Painting landscapes gives me the opportunity to go out into nature and observe it very closely. Standing in a meadow, or in a forest, or on the shore of a lake gives me a chance to soak up the essence of the land and enjoy its rhythms. Capturing these many scenes is a time-honored vision. As civilization has encroached on the landscape, artists have been working hard to preserve the memory of wild areas. One such group were the Barbizon painters from 19th century France, who first felt the impact of industrialization. Painters like Rousseau and Millet strove to monumentalize everyday life and their surroundings, bringing in new honesty and soul to the world of painting. These ideas were echoed a few years later here in the United States by artists such as George Inness as he endeavored to give his landscapes a sense of the divine. My own connection to the natural world causes me to want to capture what I observe and experience. As our current wilderness continues to disappear right here in West Michigan, and we spread out and build more and more, I find that what we have left is increasingly sacred in my eyes.