Recently I have been exploring landscapes as an exploration to find or make a good story. The paintings depict nautical landscapes with towering expressionistic clouds, contrasting colors, and a bit of comfort.
“To my mind, a picture should be something pleasant, cheerful, and pretty, yes pretty! There are too many unpleasant things in life as it is without creating still more of them.”
Renoir was correct in saying there is many unpleasant things in the world. Contemporary art is a depiction of grief capturing the senses and ramming the brutality of life further into our minds. There are many contemporary artists that capture the beauty in individuals or their lives, and then use unique materials, and then with a lengthy statement, you get the picture. Many have written about how in contemporary arts traditional painting have no place because it has been done. This is true but the story behind every creator, every visual artist is different, and depiction of a subject can be captured in a spectrum of materials. But man, does it feel good to paint, to open up the strokes, and lay some phthalo blue down on some paper.
Painting the narrative through representation has become more meaningful after a resent series of painting building in Youngstown, Ohio. These structures have been present for workforces, downfalls, and neglect but still survive as a part of a changing city. A building that was depicted in a painting last year was the Kress Building built in 1925 was torn down in front of me with construction works on their lunch breaks checking out my progress. At one point a man yells down, “have you painted this part yet”, a kind gesture moments before he would take hammer to it. People would walk past and tell me their history with the building, maybe a feeling or to about the state of things. This reaction to a location also occurs during painting plein air or photographing when people tell you what they see, what they feel, that doesn’t go away it remains as a part of that painting. To create a painting that is able to transfer beauty, positivity, and a charm to the viewer is a gift that allows the viewer to escape for a few moments. The equivalent to visually singing out loud in the car is the goal of the recent series and hopefully a direction that is followed for a while.
Hopefully the long strokes are able to move the viewer’s eyes across the piece, representation that triggers moments of remembering for the audience, and the colors standout. Every piece should contain a good story, and if you ever want to know start up a conversation, make up your own story, or even remember. Hopefully the pieces will keep your attention longer then a few moments.