Artist Statement

Photo credit: Jane Carlin, 2014

Photo credit: Jane Carlin, 2014

When I was a child, my mother routinely pointed out small details and taught me to be attentive to the colors, shapes, and textures nearby, whether a pot of flowers tucked into a corner or a ray of sunlight peeking out from behind ragged clouds. This practice of being fully aware is a critical part of my art-making process.

I am mostly a self-taught artist, working primarily "en plein air" when the weather permits. I also work from sketches and photos, but only of places where I've actually been. Based in Brooklyn, NY, I usually look for subjects in my backyard. My goal in oil painting is to capture the spirit of a scene at a particular instance, noticing that even the mundane can give pleasure, whether in the gritty, industrial zone by the Gowanus Canal (a Superfund site) or in a historic brownstone residential neighborhood.

I particularly am attracted to scenes where the man-made intersects and interacts with Nature. Escapes from the city offer greater stillness and clearer air, but “architectural” views always interest me. The sun’s effects enthrall me as its rays are absorbed and reflected by buildings, bridges, the sky, trees, and water, creating glimmers of beauty. I am attracted to views that might not have obvious aesthetic appeal, but where the commonplace seems to have a special patina at the moment I am there. When it's all working well, painting can be a form of highly active meditation.

There is so much strife, fear, anger, and negativity in our daily life that can be overwhelming to digest. By painting and sharing what I discover in my oil painting process, I create an opportunity to pause, to take a breath, to notice. A small bit of beauty can be a balm that soothes the mind, even if only temporarily. At best, my paintings pay tribute to the abundant benefits of attentiveness, and honor the liveliness and richness that surround me, a visual homage to the bounty in my life.

Photo credit: (c)  Jon Naiman  2003

Photo credit: (c) Jon Naiman 2003