Artist Kathy Dana uses bold, energetic color and thoughtful composition in her contemporary landscape paintings. Visit her website to see more of her portfolio.
Whatever it was that inspired Aristotle to say, “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inner significance,” is very inspirational to me, too.
Although my work is representational, my aim is to reveal the energy within through composition and color.
I am energized first by my own connection to the subject matter—an intense bonding during the painting process—to the point of obsession really. I am further energized when I can stand back and observe others forming the same connection with the finished work and responding in their own way.
When I’m preparing a body of work for a show—typically around twenty works—anywhere in my studio or home is fair game for easel and canvas. I may have as many as seven paintings going at once.
My color upon color process involves a different mindset at each stage. Broad, sweeping blocks of underlay to get the composition working and rich colors going on next that become the life behind the final layers of color. For instance, reds and crimsons that lead to a vibrant sky.
There’s a rhythm to the stages I go through. One of those stages involves sitting back with a glass of wine in the evening, or coffee early in the morning and looking, looking, looking. What works? What doesn’t? Why? I’ve completely reworked pieces I thought were almost ready for signature by taking a fresh eye this way.
I deeply respect and absolutely love the importance of negative space. I believe the essence of a great painting is as much about what happens between objects as the objects themselves—the proximity and marvelous tension between curves and bends; the shape, proportion and color of spaces between things.
My early training was in oils. When I returned to painting, the drying time of acrylics was helpful as I had not yet left my art direction career to become a full-time painter. I’ve been told many times that my work can be mistaken for oil. This is one reason I continue to perfect the process I use with acrylics.
I am grateful to my fellow artists as we continue to inspire and support one another through the agony and the ecstasy of creating meaningful work.
To me, the greatest reward as a painter is when something I’ve created sparks a moment of joy in someone’s life. Including my own.
Artist Kathy Dana invites you to follow her on Instagram.