Values and Design, Dramatic Color and Texture To Stir The Heart and Stir Up Stories

Artist's Statement

Cliffs of Moher, Galway, Ireland-2019

I began painting beside the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur, CA.  Watching the waves crashing across the boulders below the Esalen Institute campus with the vast, pristine skyline was mesmerizing. My time there and all the other beaches in the world that I have visited is reflected in one way or another in many of my paintings.  From Maine and to Myrtle Beach, Cape Cod to Capitola, Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park to the rocky coastline of Galway, sea and stone have always captured my heart. Those themes-water, stone and sky-anchor so much of my work.

There are other influences:  growing up on the edge of woods and farmland in the South, fishing at an early age, living in the Midwest, and now, living both near the ocean in Florida and in the North Carolina mountains.

I do not know what I am going to paint when I start, preparing 3-4 boards and/or canvases at a time with a base coat, then moving from one to another, layering oil paint (if canvas) and oil paint mixed with cold wax if on board. Intuition takes over re: colors, texture, values & design. Weeks, months…maybe even a year later, the paintings are completed, one at a time. I know when each is finished-when I really like it; when it speaks to me.

So, the paintings take me where they will. I’ve learned not to force the process, to have patience as some  “look horrible” for a while. Part of becoming a good painter is knowing painting over a painting is o.k., in fact, is often desirable.  It can yield greater complexity, stronger design.  With oil and cold wax medium, part of the intrigue is scratching and pushing back the layers of paint to discover what is underneath from days, weeks and months earlier. It’s always exciting because it’s always a mystery unfolding…just like the ocean, mountains, and the sky!

2020 

© 2018 by  Susan S. Spraker