David Haskell Studio

Landscape Oil Paintings
    of the Southwest
Artist Statement

For as long as I can remember, I have been both an artist and a lover of all things natural. I receive the inspiration for my paintings primarily from the natural world: whether it be the mesas and canyons of the Southwest or creeks and rivers that flow thru them. What is it about being surrounded by nature that creates this inspiration? I have concluded that this inspiration is a beautifully crafted combination of the many visual and other sensory stimuli provided by the location. The most powerful of sensory impressions is light. Without light there would be no color, no basis for a pleasing composition of light and shadow, no reflections of sun on rock, or sky on the surface of water.
The effects of light often borders on magical. Over the years, I have learned to perceive light as I had never before. This is one of the most wonderful gifts received by the outdoor painter. Sunlit spaces in the forest and shadows cast by trees and rock formations are readily evident. Light reflecting from the sunny side of a cliff onto the shady side of an adjacent rock face creates a sublime glow. The range of blue and purple from the sky reflected on the surface of water dances lightly above that seen below the surface. The array of effects caused by the play of light on earthly objects is seemingly endless, while the display of light on clouds steals the show with soft morning glows and spectacular evening sunsets. The play of light on clouds is beyond comprehension, so I settle for inspiration.
Through my eyes, light creates the painting in my mind. But my other senses contribute to the process. Sound or the absence of sound often adds to my sense of awe and inspiration for a scene. The soft gurgle of the mountain creek, the whisper of wind through the trees, and the utter silence not heard on a warm afternoon on the rim of the Grand Canyon, these sounds enhance what is perceived by my eyes and affects my emotional response to the moment. Thus, each painting or sketch done on location is part technical skill and part emotional response. In addition, these responses live on in my memory and can often be retrieved when painting in the studio. Therefore, I spend as much time as possible experiencing the natural world, honing by ability to see, painting what I feel, and soaking up inspiration to be drawn upon later.
The emotion most often experienced when in natural landscapes is my sense of peace and tranquility. In today’s hectic world dominated by noisy, man made environments, tranquility is a precious commodity. In many of my paintings, I attempt to capture the soothing sense of tranquility that I am feeling by the use of a soft color pallet and a sense of distance that carries the viewer through the scene. I receive great satisfaction in knowing that my paintings will continue to bring moments of this tranquility to the viewer of these works of inspiration
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