Over the years I have become most attracted to the beautiful in art, especially in landscape painting. A painter cannot fake beauty. A painting can be clever or striking, but to be considered beautiful, it must be well crafted and work on sound artistic principles.
The best paintings transmit the highest feelings that we are capable of. Good landscape paintings evoke those feelings in the hearts of their viewers. I aim for that magic in my work, also for peace, thoughtfulness and repose. Guided by this desire to convey the underlying moods of nature, I eschew grandiose vistas in favour of quieter, more intimate views, generally depicted at dawn or dusk. Landscapes that speak in a tranquil but consistent way of the beauty of nature. Also, to convey the feeling of stillness just moments after the sun has passed over the horizon and where we find ourselves deep in the timelessness of the gloaming.
I feel that every painting that I do should have a beautiful sky. The skies I render contributes strongly to the emotion and impact of my paintings. As an artist, one thing I love about New Zealand is the clean air and beautiful skies we have here. I never tire of looking up and being inspired by the differentiated clouds and striated patterns of our southern hemispheric skies.
My art is greatly influenced by a painting movement called Tonalism. This movement was popular in the late 19th and 20th centuries and running concurrently with impressionism. Tonalism is a poetic interpretation in paint of an emotive response to the landscape. When done well it conveys emotion through the picture plane and into the mind and heart of the viewer.
It was during a visit to the De Young Museum in San Francisco that I was first made aware of this style of painting. The De Young’s landscape collection was dedicated to American landscape painting by the Hudson River school, the Luminists and the Tonalists. I was immediately inspired. I wanted my work to have some of the classic feeling that I saw in these great paintings of the past landscape Masters. I was especially intrigued by the work of George Inness who was a Tonalist painter, but also the work of Thomas Moran and Frederic Edwin Church. I loved the soft glowing inner light emanating from their paintings
What was also interesting to me as a modern painter, was the focused use of intense contrasts between lights and dark's in these paintings and encouraged the viewer’s eye to just where the artist wanted it. My attraction to this lost mode of expression strongly came as a response to the work of Tonalism. Tonalism is more than just a tone, color effect, or style. Tonalist paintings can be diffused but it is more about expressing the reality just below the surface of life/nature and the emotive currents of a scene. It's light, space and colours fractured as brushed paint.
I started my love affair with art years ago. A dedication to drawing persists now, well into my professional career. When I was younger I loved drawing and had an interest in old pen and ink artists, architectural rendering and the old Masters. Later, I became aware of using computers to make art and following a path of pure inspiration I began creating abstract art digitally. The array of options available with digital art meant that no two pieces we're ever the same. Eventually, I attained a high level of mastery with the digital medium.
From 1998 to 2010, I worked as an art director and as an in-house illustrator for a company that produced apparel and other items, sold in department stores, zoos, national parks and Starbucks coffee. There I created art in many different styles and mediums.
In 2006 I started painting landscape’s on the computer, working over photos with my Wacom tablet and stylus. I had developed several techniques as an illustrator that I wanted to attempt with landscapes. I eventually gave up trying to paint with a computer altogether and began working with oils on canvas. Later, in my pursuit of a ‘museum like’ surface quality, I abandoned canvas in favour of painting directly on to prepared wood panels.
I now paint landscapes full time. My studio is located at the Quarry Arts Center in Whangarei, New Zealand. I've been a resident painter there for over two years. I really enjoy the beauty of the place and the good company of my fellow artists. I am there most weekdays so please drop by if you are in Whangarei.