For years, I didn’t have a good answer when someone would ask me, “How would you describe your work?” I was so busy focusing on painting I wasn’t thinking about a style. I never wanted to pigeonhole myself by putting on a label such as Realist. I always wanted to have a range, allowing myself room to grow and experiment as an artist. But now, after 25 years of painting and looking back at my body of work, I feel I can finally label myself. I’m a “Creative Realist”!!!
There, I said it. It wasn’t easy because what if I want to all of a sudden go abstract? ☺ Not likely, since I haven’t done it after all this time. I figure “Creative Realist” gives me freedom of expression with the paint. I want my paintings to look like a painting. Even when I do a traditional, realistic piece, I shy away from Photorealism. My goal is to have a viewer think, I like that better than the photograph.
On our website homepage, I say I use touches of Impressionism to go beyond representation. I use this technique to varying degrees depending on just how realistic I want to go. I think it adds a painterly quality to a painting and allows me to express my creativity.
As an example of my “range of work”, I thought I’d show you two paintings I painted of the same ship, the Victory Chimes. The first one, I would describe as traditional and realistic in style. I chose to paint it broadside, very detailed, and in sharp focus. I love the work of famous maritime artists like Antonio Jacobson and James E. Buttersworth, and wanted to create my own traditional rendering of the Victory Chimes in a similar style.
This next painting of the Victory Chimes, I would describe as much more impressionistic, while remaining a realistic painting. It’s not so impressionistic that you can’t read the name on the back of the ship. I still included much of the small details in the ship; they’re just not as sharp. There are no hard edges. Everything is blended to create a soft, atmospheric look. The brushwork and play of colors off each other, allowed me to be more creative with the paint.
Everyone has different taste when it comes to art. Some people prefer one style over another. Fortunately, both paintings have sold. I actually enjoy painting in both styles, and have pushed each style further to create more realistic and more impressionistic paintings than these two.
To me, having a range of style helps keep painting a joy and not work. It also helps make every painting a unique work of art, which is what you want a collector to feel when they are purchasing a painting.
Thank you as always for being interested in my art and for following my journal. I’m currently working on a large painting of Assateague Island, employing impressionist techniques and developing the lighting. Check back next week and hopefully it’ll be finished in time for my blog! Thanks!
FYI~ Both paintings of the Victory Chimes have been reproduced into high quality, paper giclees, signed, titled and numbered by the artist and are available on my website here.