Monday, October 22, 2007

Doug Braithwaite

Doug Braithwaite
First, a little bit of Wikipedia-style disambiguation. Since I’m likely to write here about either topic, I’ll point out that this article is about the gallery artist named Doug Braithwaite, as opposed to the comic book artist that some readers might associate the name.

Doug Braithwaite is a painter who works primarily en plein air, or on studio works that are based on plein air studies. His subject matter comes from his surrounding Utah countryside, mountains or town scenes.

He says in his artist’s statement: “I often worry that it will be hard to continue to be a landscape painter in a place where you have lived and worked all your life. But I have found that what used to seem a limited resource is, in fact, quite limitless. The more I paint, the more options for paintings are opened up.

Braithwaite approaches his subjects with a fresh, painterly style that comes from the brevity of notation necessary for successful plein air painting.

“Painterly” is a term frequently used to describe paintings in which brush strokes or the surface of the paint itself are a visible characteristic of the image. Though it’s not always easy to tell because the images of his paintings are not reproduced as large on the web as they might be, Braithwaite seems to have the ability to capture many of the major shapes or “color notes” in his paintings with single brushstrokes.

It might be a fence post, a tree trunk, the side of a distant house or the plane of a face of rock, Braithwaite captures it with a quick confidence that leaves the impression that the painting was executed without hesitation or doubt.

His color notes are so accurate that the images can at times appear “photographic”, but I think that is again a limitation of the size at which they’re reproduced, and closer examination gives a suggestion of their geometric lattice of visible brush strokes.

In keeping with the geometry of his strokes, Braithwaite’s compositions have a strong underlying geometry as well. In this regard, viewing the even smaller versions of the thumbnail images lets you see the large, bold shapes of color areas that form the foundation of his paintings.

[Suggestion courtesy of Karin Jurick, (see my post on Karin Jurick)]

5 thoughts on “Doug Braithwaite

  1. Joan M.

    It’s true that this kind of painting, seen from a distance (or seen in thumbnails, as in the site) can look hyper-realist, photography-like. Once you see the full size images you notice (well, I did, at least) some brush shapes that remind you of digital programs like Painter or Deep Paint. How strange: the way our perception is influenced by the knowledge of different techniques.

  2. Jared Shear

    WOW…..Doug has a wonderfully vibrant, almost mechanical stroke that is confident and energetic. His use of color, value, composition make the everyday…extraordinary, the mundane…magnificent, and the simple…superb! What a fine dish for my eyes to feast upon.

  3. A. Decker

    Braithwaite has to be one of the best “painterly” types I’ve seen on the web. Thanks for bringing him to us. I’ve just discovered your site, and really appreciate what you’re doing. Great work.

  4. Randall Imai

    I was looking randomly through your archives and came across this. I actually own a Doug Braithwaite painting which I bought in a small gallery in Helper, Utah, the town where I grew up. Since I moved to the east coast, Helper has become a fairly important center for Utah artists.

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