Meet 12 artists who find painting inspiration from the ground up
This story was featured in the February 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art February 2013 print edition, or download the Southwest Art February 2013 issue now…Or just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
“I find as much gratification in painting an intimate tree portrait as an expansive landscape—trees are the main characters in any landscape painting. There is so much variance in the character of trees; each has its own unique personality. This work was completed as a demonstration piece at a workshop I conducted this past summer at the Hudson River Fellowship in Jackson, NH. The first day I arrived into town, I passed this pine at the side of the road and immediately knew I needed to paint it at some point during my stay. The confident gesture of the strong trunk and extended bows beckoned to be painted. Time and weather had forged its stoic character.”
John Pence Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Cavalier Galleries, Greenwich, CT; Meibohm Fine Arts, East Aurora, NY; Beals & Abbate Fine Art, Sante Fe, NM; Beacon Fine Arts Gallery, Red Bank, NJ; Oxford Gallery, Rochester, NY; www.thomaskegler.com.
“TRICKLE TO SEA is an impasto oil painting, inspired by some of the richest farmlands in the world—the Skagit River valley of Washington state. With Mount Erie in the background, this meandering slough gave me an almost stellar composition using the intense red tulips to help punctuate this painting. Although identifiable in subject, my interest is in the abstract application of modulating color with texture—impasto!
“Art for me has been an obsession as well as a passion. Passion would be for the love of it; obsession means I have no choice. After all these years of being an artist, my enthusiasm for this creative process has never wavered.”
“One of the most captivating elements of the coastal California landscape is the frequent, dense fog. It silences the world wherever it penetrates, bringing a certain mystical, otherworldly dimension to anything it touches.
“In FOG LIFTING we’re looking down across Lucas Valley, 20 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Many times I hike the valley’s surrounding peaks and marvel at the coming or leaving of the fog—sometimes low on the valley floor, sometimes crawling higher. The exact moment captured in this painting finds both phenomena happening simultaneously on a cold spring morning.”
“Winter scenes are some of my favorite to paint—whether it’s a crystal-clear day with a blinding sun streaming its reflection everywhere or standing knee-deep as the peaceful snow gently stacks up all around. It makes for a season I really look forward to.
“EARLY MORNING WINTER is an attempt to capture that daybreak moment when the midnight storm gradually gives way and the slowly rising sun begins to reveal the colors of another beautiful western winter day. On this particular morning, I was heading out of the Tetons back to Colorado, and this view stopped me in my tracks. A painting was in the works immediately, and the clearing skies assured me that the trip was going to be smooth sailing!”
Abend Gallery Fine Art, Denver, CO; Wildhorse Gallery, Steamboat Springs, CO; Joe Wade Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM; Cultural Arts Council of Estes Park Fine Art Gallery, Estes Park, CO; www.davidharms.com.
“Even though I have lived in the desert Southwest for the past 15 years, I am still taken aback by the 360-degree view, the low horizon line, and the enormous sky space that permeates every aspect of life. IN THE LINEUP focuses on a more intimate view of the San Luis Valley on the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Colorado. The trees, often cottonwoods that line the creeks in glorious ribbons from the valley floor to the mountaintops, are eye-catching because vegetation is so sparse. Seeing a cluster of trees like this in the desert can inspire one to imagine their personalities and characters, surviving and thriving in such a harsh environment. IN THE LINEUP is a celebration of that.”
Winterowd Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM; Jules Place, Boston, MA; Pryor Fine Art, Atlanta, GA; Rosenbaum Contemporary, Boca Raton, FL; The Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery, Austin, TX; www.kirklandart.com.
“I have painted this scene from my hometown of Mattapoisett, MA, many times, both on site and from photos. On this morning in July, the oncoming storm created an amazing sense of light and energy that I had never witnessed. The soft blue-violet of the sky and water in contrast with the roiling clouds was unique.
“The use of grays in this painting reflects my recent turn to more subtle colors. Here the grayed blues, violets, and browns create the drama and subtlety of the clouds and reflections. The single house by the water gives a sense of loneliness—reminiscent of Hopper—but the beauty of the sailboat heading to harbor amid silver light adds hope. After all, this is a summer storm, and it will pass quickly.”
Linda Tuma Robertson
“Being born and raised in Oklahoma provides many opportunities to watch thunderheads filling the sky. It is an exhilarating experience witnessing the power and the rumbling of the atmosphere in the creation of a storm. As the light hits the cumulonimbus clouds, all kinds of interesting and dramatic effects occur, changing so rapidly that I am snapping photo after photo in an attempt to capture the phenomenon.
“The conception of STORM WATCH ON THE SOUTH CANADIAN began on a sunny day with a few clouds. I was painting on the river near Watonga, OK. As the summer heat intensified, storms started forming to create this cloud symphony. I hurried home to take cover and to start painting the event.”
“Because I have been known for the use of bold, vibrant colors in my paintings, many of my collectors are surprised to see that as the seasons change from summer and fall to winter, so does the mood and the tone of my landscapes. Instead of the strong primary colors I usually use, I tend to invert my palette to more neutral tones using warm grayish blues, greens, and browns.
“I like to convey a warm, joyful feeling in a winter scene with the movement of falling snow and to create a quiet stillness that allows the viewer to hear and see the details of nature in a way that is unique to the winter season.”
Christiane David Gallery, Lancaster, PA.
“The second floor of my home consists of the master bedroom and my studio; the entire back wall of glass looks north over Taunton Lake from both rooms. One October morning the fog and mist were so thick that I could hardly see the water’s edge just 50 yards from the house, and over the next 24 hours I had material for dozens of paintings of the same scene. TAUNTON LAKE FOG & MIST #3 is the third of 10 paintings in this series that spanned from 5:30 a.m. to midnight. The group shows the sun coming up, burning away stages of the fog and mist, afternoon lighting, early evening, dusk, and even moonlight near midnight.”
“As the title implies, this painting is about spring. The colors in the landscape are most vivid this time of year. The greens are almost raw in their hue. What drew me to this subject was the shape of the decaying Victorian house, especially the gables of the roof. The old building juxtaposed against the newly arriving spring landscape is what inspired this painting. Spring will return each year with or without this old house, but the season will look lonely without it. With the foreground comprising more than half the painting, the challenge was to get the viewer into the subject of the painting without really becoming aware of the foreground.”
“I often work from my imagination sparked by a small part of a photo. In SUNLIGHT REFLECTION I knew that I wanted to paint a sunset with some reflected light on the ground. Going through my photos, I started with a bush and then placed the horizon line and a few directional lines on the canvas. After some paint was blocked in, I then wiped out shapes in the sky for the clouds. This gave me the basic direction for the painting. I always have a basic idea of what I want on the canvas before I start, but my imagination will expand, and the subject will build. Moods and atmosphere are the emotional components of a painting that I like to include in my work.”
“This is the ‘old California,’ unchanged since the late 19th century, and one that few know exists. Its quietness is as stunning as its beauty. On this summer morning, the only sounds were a few birds in the oaks, a meadowlark or two, and the occasional shrill cry of some red-shouldered hawks. The road ends at the gate to a cattle ranch, making the road all the more quiet. I love June in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, which is known as ‘Gold Country.’ The grasslands are just starting to mature to their summer golden. To catch this light, I started painting at 7 a.m. By 9 a.m., the sun was more overhead, the nice shadows were gone, and it was heating up. So I packed up and returned home with my painting of the quietness of a summer morning.”
Featured in the February 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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