Tom Stewart

About the Artist

The inspiration for my paintings comes from my lifelong love affair with the sea. Dating back to my earliest days, I have vivid memories of taking in the vast ocean experience: the sustained roar of breaking surf, the feel of shifting sand beneath my disappearing feet, and the scintillating light amidst churning waters. I paint from such memories, almost in hopes of soothing a feeling that approaches homesickness. 

I marvel that, for at least several billion years, the oceans have remained in perpetual motion with the ebb and flow of the tides and the passing of distant ocean swells. Filled with awe at the sight of massive icebergs, the breeching of whales, or sailing into an expanse of thirty-foot seas, I try to bring this emotional energy into my paintings and in some way touch off the viewers’ own ocean memories.

Generally, I begin a new piece of work while reflecting on some distant salty memory, one that has had some impact on my life. Using transparent, opaque, and sometimes metallic watercolor pigments in a very spontaneous and flowing manner, the watercolor medium steers me as much as I steer it. It is nonstop decision-making, more reacting than thinking. The textural aspects of my paintings are established first, and when all is thoroughly dry, some small representational details are often added to make the fairly abstract painting more accessible. Always searching for new techniques to generate fluid textures and “noise” I have begun to mix acrylics, wax mediums, and oil crayons into my process.

The undesirable impacts of mankind’s recent exploitive activities are increasingly jeopardizing many timeless ocean systems that are necessary for sustaining the diversity of life. My intention is to create paintings that convey my reverence and awe for the natural world and to express our own fragile nature and fleeting presence on this wondrous planet, Earth.

 

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