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Background

I was born in Princeton, NJ in 1960 and grew up in New York and Paris. Some of my earliest memories include drawing and painting, and I never lost that love. I was trained at New York University, Parsons School of Design, and the New School back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, when Abstract Expressionism was still reigning as king. Most of my teachers tried desperately to steer me into abstraction, but instead I drove them to distraction. I stuck to my preference for romantic realism and have never regretted it.

For over 25 years, I’ve been accepting commissions to paint detailed watercolor and pen-and-ink portraits of houses and historic buildings. Using the same media, I also create evocative, nostalgic landscapes, currently favoring subjects from my travels in Tuscany, Vermont, the Black Hills region of South Dakota, and the Hamptons in Long Island. In addition, I have a long-standing love of wildlife and horses. I collaborate with a fine printmaker to create limited-edition prints on high-grade watercolor paper. Additionally, some of my pictures are available as note cards. For the Black Hills series, please go to blackhillsgallery.com. For the Hampton Classic series, please contact me. In 2006, I won the commission to create the annual Hampton Classic poster. It is on view and available for sale on the Hampton Classic website.

My work has been praised for its elegant use of line, its rich and meticulous sense of light and detail, and its gently nostalgic, wistful spirit. The paintings and prints have been exhibited in galleries as far-flung as South Dakota, Florida, and Connecticut. Those who have collected my work include Peter Lawson-Johnson, former chairman of the Guggenheim Museum; W. C. Butcher, former chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank; and Betty Sherrill, president of McMillen, Inc.

Approach / Technique

My works generally start as ‘plein aire’ paintings—quick, spontaneous watercolor sketches done on the spot in an effort to capture the light and movement of my subjects. I had a wonderful teacher, the famed watercolorist David Dewey, who said: “Architecture is forever, but the light is for about 10 minutes.” He encouraged me to respond spontaneously to the light and colors of the moment. I also supplement my sketches with photography to help me remember and select any details that will enhance the story I want to tell in the finished painting. I usually work on these at home, using a combination of watercolor and pen-and-ink, giving them an aura of 19th-century prints and engravings.

Point of View

To me, painting is a story-telling medium. It is not about navel-gazing—the artist exploring the depths of his own emotions and leaving the viewer baffled; it is about telling the viewer a story about a moment in time, inviting him to join the artist on a journey. Think of it this way: What makes you love a certain place? It is never just the details of the architecture or the scenery. It has to do with a combination of intangibles—including the atmosphere, the light, the sense of a moment suspended in time. In my paintings, these fleeting intangibles are my quarry. Armed with watercolors and pen and ink, I walk and wander, seeking the views and scenes that resonate with my own sense of beauty, one that is greatly influenced by the romantic realists of the late 19th early 20th centuries. The painting is a record of my pursuit. It is a window of sorts, an invitation to the viewer to enter and enjoy. If the picture affects you as I intended, it evokes a certain love of a place, a sense of inner peace, or a memory of a moment in time. Is there an underlying idea in my paintings? I think there is a basic hopefulness behind my work, a belief that there is beauty and peace still to be found in the world, and that the insanity of modern mankind will never stamp it all out. It will win out in the end.
 



      All images on this website are Copyrighted (c) 2006 Daniel P. Black. All rights reserved.