Food for thought
This story was featured in the October 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art October 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
For Eric Bowman, artistic inspiration can spontaneously arrive at any time and in any place. Sometimes the creative muse strikes him in the form of light patterns at the end of the day. Other times it may spring from a foray to a friend’s studio. And in some cases, simply flipping through old sketchbooks reminds him of an intriguing idea he never explored. “Keeping an open mind and being observant is the key,” Bowman says.
Recently the Oregon-based artist has spent time exploring themes around local culinary schools and bakeries in Portland—a city known for its passionate foodies, acclaimed restaurants, and array of food trucks and carts. Everyone can relate to food, Bowman says. In one of the first paintings in his food series, ICE WOMAN, the artist depicts a pastry chef at the popular Beaverton Bakery, which is located in a converted movie theater. Bowman noticed the woman during a visit and discovered that her task was to put icing on cakes all day long. “I liked her form and the way she was bending over with an elbow and arm in the air,” he says. “It made for an interesting composition.”
Another painting in the series, GLAZING, was inspired by a foray to the Oregon Culinary Institute and is currently on view in the prestigious American Impressionist Society National Juried Exhibition at Abend Gallery in Denver, CO. Bowman also has two landscape paintings on view this month in the American Masters Fine Art Exhibition and Sale at the Salmagundi Club in New York City.
Both the figurative and the landscape genre appeal to Bowman as subject matter, he says. He may work in one genre for a spell and then switch to the other for variety. Living in Oregon, he says, his choices are often determined by the weather conditions and seasons: Winter is for figures, and summer is the time for outdoor painting. From each genre he reaps different rewards. “Plein-air landscapes have taught me a lot about color and value, but the figure is the disciplinarian when it comes to drawing,” Bowman says. —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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