Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Why Paint the Subject You Choose

During reception at Crossroads Gallery
Recently, I was asked to give an artist talk to accompany the showing of my work at Crossroads Gallery in Falls Church, Virginia. The gallery is a stunning space, and I am grateful to have my work displayed there. Although I have spoken about art, my own and generally, the conversations tend to be snippets regarding my technique and perhaps the specific inspiration for an individual piece. This time I wanted to share something different. What I wanted to cover was why I chose the subjects that I chose. Here is an excerpt of the artist talk:

People often ask me when I started making artwork. My answer is that I can’t remember when I started making artwork because I have been making art since I was a child. I studied art in college and worked as a graphic designer for 17 years, during which time, I continued taking classes and drawing and painting. But why did I choose to concentrate on the landscape as a subject? Well, I have given that a lot of thought. As a result of being a people person, and an extrovert, I had originally thought about making portraits. I studied with well-known portrait painters and worked from the live model as well—and I enjoyed it— but that path wasn’t feeding my soul. So, I decided to try something else, but what?

Talking with visitors at the reception for Converging, an exhibition of my paintings along with David Barnes' glass art
I am an introspective extrovert, so I think A LOT about what makes others tick and what makes me tick too. It is part of the human condition to experience negative things in our lives. What do we do when that happens? The answer is different for everyone. Some people listen to music, some dance, some sleep or go to the movies or lose themselves in a book. These are all good solutions. What I do, almost literally, is run to the woods or to a body of water. Since I was a child, in the mountains of West Virginia, nature has been a comfort to me in times of stress. Is it any wonder that I gravitated to the landscape as my subject? When people see my work in my studio, they often say that the art makes them feel at peace and that they want to walk into the imagery. That is the best of compliments because that means that they “get it.” Those who want to have my work find peace in it. If at all possible, people can take that peace and bring it out into the world by being a bit stronger and happier.

Grateful for a nice turn-out for the reception
One of my patrons  lives in Northern Virginia and also has a home in West Virginia. One of my paintings reminds him of a specific place that he clearly loves. Here's what he had to say about one of my paintings: 

"When I look at that painting, it brings me back to that field, and I can just imagine spending an afternoon there, reading a book and enjoying the sunshine and sound of birds and the fresh air. And since for a lot of reasons, I don't get to experience that reality on a daily basis as I'd otherwise like to, I find that your paintings are able to breathe a little bit of it into the days where I can't go back to that field in person.”

So, that is what I hope to bring to those who see and purchase my work. The gift of a location that brings them comfort and peace. 

Sending peace and comfort,