David Marshall Artist’s Statement
My interest is primarily in painting. While I find much to admire in all forms of art, painting has held my attention and challenged me for roughly 20 years. I don’t like to speak of myself as a “professional” painter with a “career” because those words imply that painting is something I do for money. I paint because I enjoy doing it and thinking about it. I show my paintings because I want other people to enjoy the results.
I make small outdoor paintings, figures in the landscape, portraits, still lifes, and occasionally large studio compositions based upon smaller studies. Within all these modes, I have found that achieving a unified tonal effect is an elusive and often difficult pursuit – especially in a larger painting. As the eye wanders over a subject it tends to focus on the parts rather than the whole. If one paints the parts, they rarely add up to produce a unified whole. Subtle changes in light – even in a studio with natural light – dramatically affect the overall tonality of a subject.
The act of painting is rewarding because of its moments of heightened awareness and its quiet contemplation of nature’s beauty. In painting from ever-changing nature some moments are filled with an urgency to capture a fleeting light effect. Other moments allow for prolonged recognition of how one object melts into another at a specific place, how it clearly separates from its surroundings in others, where exactly the color is most intense, where it is cool, where it is warm, where it pulsates. Sorting out this visual experience is much of what occupies me.