It’s so tough to choose only 3! There are SO many painters out there in the big world, and to tell the truth, most of them don’t really turn my head. Yet, it’s not easy to pin-point what, exactly, does get my attention. A color, a brushstroke, a feeling of light or expression – what is it?
Over the years, several painters have come to be my favorites. The first one to capture my artistic heart was Gauguin. I think it was the figures and playful use of color that I noticed. In college, I was enamored of Monet, like so many art students. But he never really garnered my appreciation until I saw the Waterlily paintings (2 of them, at least) in person. I was awestruck! This was partly because I had been trying to paint landscapes that year, and it was just so darned difficult to get what I wanted! But Monet – well, what can I say? The marks looked so careless, and somehow, an image emerged. And a lovely image, too.
Years after I finally finished art school, I found Wolf Kahn. I fell in love with his pastels, a medium I never expected to like so much. Kahn had a way of working from life, infusing his own vision and color sense, and making the whole seem
plausible, but more fun. His landscapes always seemed to be enfolding me in a brilliant mist. And, he seemed the perfect editor. For really the first time, I sought to emulate another artist (Kahn) in some way. Well. it may not seem at all obvious just how this artist influenced my work. I simply know that I was looking at his pictures and thinking about them for years as I worked.
More recently, I have taken a closer look at the works of Gustav Klimt. Famous for “The Kiss,” Klimt used many haunting figures and plenty of gold leaf and patterns, as well as his very own stylized perspective. His images seem narrative, yet not in an obvious fashion. I began to borrow some elements for my own paintings, deciding that some of his devices would work well for communicating the spiritual themes that come up in my own work. Besides, I’m attracted to the swirls, patterns, and sparkles.
Last, we come to Nolde. Though I studied his work briefly, and liked some of what I saw, going to Germany and seeing his studio and garden changed my life! The watercolors I saw were luscious – you cannot possibly feel the impact from the photos. I purchased a book of his “Unpainted Pictures.” I don’t think I will ever tire of looking at them. His life story, what I have heard of it anyway, is also fascinating.
So, I will end with that for today. I hope to interview a couple of my artist neighbors in the coming weeks, both of whom use re-purposed materials extensively. Can’t wait to visit them!