Existing in the dynamic media culture of our modern era means that we have an expectation of distraction, mental stimulation, and of course, a variety of shopping options.
It is in this environment of desire, that I have to remind myself to slow down and take in our lovely natural environment, to quiet my mind enough to be receptive to the constant flow of silent stimuli, the beauty of our surroundings. Painting provides me with a vital tool for slowing down.
We are often too busy and preoccupied to tune into nature. Also, we are so used to seeing our environment that we grow numb to it’s appearance. I am numb to it as well. It isn’t until I have gone through the ritual of pulling out my painting equipment, prepping my surface, deciding on my compositional approach, quieting my mind and settling into the process of actively reproducing the object of my gaze, that I start to see it better. All I can offer the viewer is a record of what I saw during the process. Along with my best attempt to use paint in a way that is dynamic and interesting according to my personal tastes.
These tastes evolve over time and can shift in the course of a year, but they exist as an ideal to try and work toward. If I were to describe them it would be simplest to create a list of qualities I like to see in paintings.
- I like brush stokes that feel dynamic, that float, and feel alive.
- I like paintings that have a variety of textures from smooth and transparent to thick and buttery.
- I like color that reminds me of the vibrancy of sunlight.
- I like to see bold color themes in nature, and then as I paint them have more and more subtle nuances revealed to me through the process of looking!
- I like compositions that have unusual shape relationships, varieties of sizes, spatial depth and surprising subtleties that draw the viewer in from across the room.
- I like to feel that the artist is connected with the subject and the process in a way that feels natural, unselfconscious, and tender.
I’m not saying that I have achieved these ideals. They are just the ideals that keep me working. Or rather, it is those ideals and the pure pleasure of stopping to gaze…. that keeps me devoted to painting!
Andrew Daniel Portfolio