Winter morning

Before sunrise, cold, quiet, and still. A long walk on a winter morning. Looking for signs of life in a frozen landscape. There is always beauty to be found. Life thrives in harsh climates and recovers from the most brutal storms. Weather is temporary. So are we.


Changing focus

For 25 years, I've focused most of my professional career on developing cabinetry and millwork systems for the custom kitchen industry. At the end of a four year series of projects for my most recent manufacturing client, I decided it would be invigorating to turn my efforts to working directly with homeowners and their architects and interior designers, using products that I designed for high end cabinet manufacturers.

Jennifer Gilmer Kitchens & Baths, founded in 1997 in Bethesda, Maryland has earned a reputation for design excellence and client service in the greater Washington DC region and nationwide, winning top awards year after year. Much of her work and a substantial portion of her showroom feature products I designed. Jennifer and I have known each other as colleagues since before she opened her business, and have collaborated on a number of projects.

It is with great pleasure that I have joined her firm, and look forward to collaborating with Jennifer, architects, designers, developers, contractors, and clients who seek to create rooms of distinction. I'm sure it's going to be fun. Best of all, I will continue to develop product, but at a different pace, and more immediately informed by daily experience with the clients who will use them.

Here are a couple of presentation renderings for the first project we're working on together.



Empty chair

Chairs are more than just furniture. They have personalities, through design, the wear and tear of service, and the familiarity we bestow upon them. They grow to be identified with the people whose favorite perches they become over time, especially in a family home. A chair evokes the memory of how it is animated, suffused with life when filled by the one who claims it. When that person departs, his aura persists.

Yesterday morning, I was stunned by the news that longtime friends of mine had lost their son just four days before to the ravages of depression and the terrible storms of mood disorder. It hit very close to home. This heartbreaking excerpt from his obituary, written by his mother:

"Mental illness is an obscure and solitary disease, society’s dark secret. It is a reality for one in five of us. Joshua battled his affliction every day and night of his life. Please help end the stigma. Support the struggle by kindly sending a contribution to the Mental Health Association of Orange County or to the National Alliance of Mental Illness."

The morning sunlight filtering into my quiet house. This empty chair, softly highlighted, floating in shadows. I imagine my friends sitting with their grief, wanting to comfort them, knowing I can't. They cherished their son, encouraged and stood by him in every way they could, but his illness eventually consumed him.

Theo and Joe, you honor Josh by sharing this. I'm moved by your courage. I know that his chair will never be empty.


8-1/4" x 11", 2B graphite pencil


Each day

Moments from two mornings. Mood and outlook leak into images on paper. Evidence of seeing and feeling. The desire and need to connect, musings included or withheld. How much to reveal; what to say, what to keep private. The anxiety of being judged or misunderstood against the loneliness and pain of isolation. Will what I post touch anyone, help someone to feel inspired, encouraged, or worthy? Find joy or wonder in the everyday, strength and determination when all seems dark, or simply the comfort of recognizing a kindred spirit in this bewildering world? I hope so.
morning glories, 6" x 7", 2B graphite and colored pencilsrainy morning, 8" x 11", Derwent Inktense colored pencils


Un-still life

Ever try to draw a three year old? They never stop moving. And dogs aren't much different than human children. You'd think that while they're napping, (a lot of the time), that they'd hold still. They don't, not for more than a few seconds at a time. Makes it tempting to use a camera to freeze the image, but then, at least for me, the spirit of the living moment is lost. I'd rather struggle to focus my full attention and bear the frustration of amateurish results than to forfeit the direct experience. I want more than to be a skilled copyist.

That said, I wish that life would hold still sometimes. Or at least slow down.