Libby Manchester Gilpatric
"Nature and weather intrigue me. Painting energizes and excites me. Putting the two together is a challenge: finding new troughs and crests for my craft. Wind, sea, sky and earth swirl rhythm and energy. Yellow winter sunlight gleams upon steel-grey waters - wind-churned ocean currents froth up waves irregular, booming, roaring, spewing foam and spray, in powerful gesture and singular attitude, sheets of spindrift slide and undulate, calling to be painted. Heeding this call I begin to choreograph, partnering the loaded brush to the canvas. This ballet of painting breathes life and energy into cold short days – one day a passionate tango, another a dreamy waltz. Looking north, south, east and west, downward, upward, outward, and sometimes even inward, I am acutely aware of the movement, patterns and rhythms along the tidal zone where the sea joins this land – this island. I hurry to the studio to capture the pleasure of this dance with my oil-primed linen partner – boney, blank and cool – waiting for me to take the lead. Often we trip over each other -stumbling, falling, wiping off and starting anew – the thrill of this ever-changing dance."
This is how I feel when I'm painting.
My paintings are compositions with pattern and paint. I rely on color and value to give a painting structure. The subject can be any ordinary place or object that makes me want to paint it - from a coastal or rural landscape to the most fragile flower. It does not have to be a beautiful scene, but it must speak to me as a challenge inspiring me to rise to the occasion of putting it onto canvas. For me the fun is in finding a rhythm while creating the painting, as in a dance or musical performance. Then I refine the paths I want your eyes to follow applying paint thin and runny or thick and luscious.
I think about painting all the time. I love working with oil paint. It is such an unfussy, low-tech, physical medium. I can use any range of colors, but almost always it’s four tubes of paint - one red, one yellow, one blue plus white - with minor variations. I can lay down bold shapes of color and value without concern over the surfaces of the subject such as textures or the apparent feel of the surface of what I am painting. I want to make you see how the forms of a building, a group of trees, rocks, a sandy shore or undulating field relate as elements of the landscape. Since sandbox days the lay of the land has been my focus. Once I decide on a subject, I have already been painting it in my mind. Applying paint to canvas becomes the ending of an entire process. Each painting has been a memorable journey, and my hope is you will carry that image in your own memory for a long time.