For the past 10 years I have been predominately a plein air painter. I did all my landscape paintings on site in the
great outdoors. For me, the studio was a space only to prepare panels, store drying and finished works, and set up the
occasional still life. I love the experience of painting out of doors, and pursue that option as often as possible.
This past year has brought big and wonderful changes to my life and — of course — those changes have affected
the way I paint. With the birth of my son I have not been able to paint outdoors as often as I would like, and due to some
recent health issues I need to be careful about prolonged exposure to the sun. Consequently, this has forced me to become
somewhat more of an ‘easel painter’ in my studio, separated from my inspiration.
Initially, I felt confined in the studio and limited by only being able to work from sketches and photo references. If I did
get out to paint, it was only for a very short time and the painting would have to be finished later in the studio.
When I am out on site I sketch, taking notes to distill the most important aspects of the composition so that when I am back
in the studio I have enough information from which to work. Through a combination of the sketches and photo references, I
have found that I am pushing myself to explore new possibilities in color and composition.
At present, I am using color harmonies and temperature to isolate elements of the urban landscape. At the start of each
painting I chose a color theme for the painting. The colors of the painting may all lean towards blues and pinks, or reds
and purples. I play with the composition, sometimes altering and editing the landscape to bring out the strongest shapes
that will lead the viewer between murky shadows and light passages.
The paintings have become more about the ‘idea’ of a space or scene rather than a literal interpretation. I am
taking liberties with the subject matter, using color and design to give the painting a dream-like atmosphere. I am using
high contrast to manipulate the values to enhance the mood of the painting. These changes have made me grow as a painter.
KKM, October 2008