Those who are not conversant in works of art are often surprised at the high value set by connoisseurs on drawings which appear careless, and in every respect unfinished; but they are truly valuable... they give the idea of a whole.
- Sir Joshua Reynolds
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.
- Anais Nin


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Thomas Paquette: On Nature’s Terms

Posted by Charley Parker at 10:02 pm

Thomas Paquette: On Nature's Terms
Thomas Paquette is a painter from western Pennsylvania, whose work I have showcased before here on Lines and Colors, and who remains a personal favorite among contemporary landscape painters.

Paquette’s landscapes not only have a beautiful sense of color and light, but they are painted with a particularly appealing quality of edges. There is something about the interplay of Paquette’s edges and areas of color that I find consistently fascinating. The accentuated edges seem to simultaneously divide areas of color and unify the painting as a whole, in addition to acting as an element of texture.

A new exhibition of Paquette’s paintings devoted to wilderness areas has been assembled to mark the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The exhibition, titled On Natures’s Terms, opens at the Wildling Museum in Solvang, CA, this Friday, January 17, 2014.

The exhibition will be on display in California until April 7, 2014. It then moves to the Regina A. Quick Center Art Museum in St. Bonaventure, NY for a run from August 31 – November 22, 2014, and then to Evansville Museum of Art, Science and History in Evansville, IN, where it will be on display from December 14, 2014 to March 8, 2015.

There is a catalog of the exhibition available directly from the artist, and signed on request. You can also find more information on the Eyeful Press website. In both places you can see a PDF preview of the book (or here). You can also preview some of the work in the show here.

I haven’t seen the catalog yet, but I have Paquette’s previous book of small gouache paintings, and it is quite beautiful.

This is another fascinating aspect of Paquette’s work, his oil paintings are sometimes large in scale (perhaps 5×3′), but his small gouache paintings are sometimes as small as 2 or 3 inches to a side (images above, bottom two). The exhibition and the catalog feature some of both. As I described back in 2007, his small gouache paintings are what I was originally drawn to — at first thinking they were larger than they are.

While you’re on Paquette’s website, look through some of his other oils, both large and small, and the selection of gouache paintings. You can also find some process and interview videos with Paquette on YouTube.

If you have a chance to see On Nature’s Terms on person at one of its venues, I highly recommend you do.

6 comments for Thomas Paquette: On Nature’s Terms »

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  1. Comment by DS
    Thursday, January 16, 2014 @ 3:54 pm

    These paintings strike me as a bridge between Japanese shin hanga landscape prints (like those of Kawase Hasui) and traditional western oil paintings of landscapes — both compositionally and in that quality of the edges which you describe.

  2. Comment by Charley Parker
    Thursday, January 16, 2014 @ 5:09 pm

    Thanks for the comment. Yes, I see a connection to the outline and fill nature of Japanese woodblock prints as well.

    For the benefit of other readers, here is my most recent post on Kawase Hasui.

  3. Comment by John kaay
    Friday, January 17, 2014 @ 3:48 pm

    Charlie, any idea how Paquette gets that edge quality? I can see it, but can’t see how it’s done.
    John Kaay

  4. Comment by Charley Parker
    Friday, January 17, 2014 @ 11:35 pm

    My best guess, based on looking at his paintings of trees, is that the outline effect is from an underpainting of the form. It looks like the top color of the form is deliberately left shy of covering the edges of the underpainted form, leaving a rough-edged outline effect with a carefully controlled color and value relationship.

  5. Comment by ArtsNyou
    Saturday, January 18, 2014 @ 10:54 am

    Really amazing paintings and the way clouds have been painted….

  6. Comment by John kaay
    Saturday, January 18, 2014 @ 2:56 pm

    I found some good close-ups in a preview of his new book. Only 20 bucks postpaid.
    Lots and lots of layers of broken color over an underpainting, as you surmised.
    And it’s a PDF!

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