Creating illusions that have meaning is my goal as an artist. I like trying out color combinations on my pallet. Working my brush laying down different colors with each stroke, I get lost for hours in this process. The work does not have to be complex to be good, but it has to hold something worth sharing. There is a lot of good and bad art out in the world. Bad art doesn’t look complete, it simply misses something, or it is contrived. As a child I had a neighbor who became a mentor, Morton Jacob Krazner or Mr. Moses as we called him. One of the most important things he told me was; “Art is Universal Communication”. I took his words to heart, judging and filtering what people present as art. Good art shares insight to something greater than a mere reflection. There are many types of joy to feel with viewing art. But really good art in my opinion is rare. Great art gives viewers a special moment that is more than novel entertainment. I have seen a handful of portraits where the subject’s persona jumps out, as if you just met someone for the first time. Or experienced the essence of their soul. I have seen a few landscapes that appeared so very profound. It gave me a sense to an insight of something like a “was and always will be” moment. As if a life force was coming out of the painting. There are layers of meaning and insights I am striving to show in my own work. Attempting to communicate these insights in my own work is a great challenge. These insights may even be beyond words and our understanding of time? I have been painting for thirty years, selling over ten thousand copies of my art. Still I find myself pursuing ways to fully develop a signature style. I am constantly judging what my art communicates and seek ways to say more with less.

My first published works were naive art landscapes paintings I sold as posters. Using tempura paint on paper, they were of San Francisco and Yosemite. I describe these works as Telephoto Folk Art. My aim was to present a panoptic view that could not be seen in a single moment. So viewers would have to let their eyes travel over the terrain. I painted a side view of twenty or more, detailed mini scenes. Placing them in a zone where they aligned to each other. But it was not a map. Laying out these scenes on one sheet, gave a colorful overview. This was my first attempt to put more into a painting than can be seen in nature.

Now my paintings are of landscapes and Cityscapes. I like painting scenes of women walking their dogs past colorful flower stands. Dog walking is so wholesome it can almost seem hokey. Some may see my artwork and described it as pedestrian. However, I am striving to create art that reveals a hyper vivid impression of reality. A moment when time seems to stand still and open up to beauty; revealing a truth rarely experienced. Painting dapples of golden light in the work is my way of striving to add grandeur. Creating textures that feel alive is something I invest a lot of time. I belief great paintings are made when a great sense of purpose pushes each brush stroke onto the canvas. It can be like a symbol that shines insight to a higher truth. This ‘great art’ is rare and is greater than the sum of its parts, it glimmers a grander slice of life. Soothing the soul and lifts the mind of the viewer. Connecting some little corner of the heart, evoking thoughts and feelings that break the bonds of the mundane. This is something a great piece of art can do, and what I am striving to create. Can I be so bold to call it “Eye candy for the soul”?

I use every tool at hand to make my art. Inspired to paint plain air work, I will go to a meadow or a street corner with oil or acrylics. Other times I arrange photos on my Mac to create a collage. Turning my collages into seamless scenes is a lot of work. Digital tools allow me to mimic painting, while not making a big mess on canvas. Art is so subjective, making good art requires testing. So I rework a scene over and over. Comparing color combos and where to place my key objects in a scene. It is all part of the work to get a scene to look just right. But with endless possibilities to explore, I burn up a great deal of time. Pursuing the joy of detail can become an addicting process. Using digital tools may feel less organic than painting with oils. However, I have found that by using dental tools to sculpt detailed brushstrokes is helpful. I infuse my sculpting brush strokes as a digital photo into the work as a texture. The clay is my organic pathway. It is my way of regaining an intimate distance between my work and those who view it; which is usually lost when “painting” digitally.

Working on a Mac has helped me improve my use of Oils and Acrylic painting too. There is an insight I have gleaned by rendering objects with digital tools. Each aspect is measure with numbers; color hues and clarity to name a few. “Digital” painting tracks with numbers how I see and use color, which is a big change.
These tools have given me a more measured way to think when working with paints and a brush. Using them has not taken away how I feel about color, but added a “left brain” sense to how I look at color. The reverse of this is also true. Painting with oils and acrylics has helped my digital work have a looser, more natural look.

I feel lucky to be alive in the 21st century with so many choices. My painting process starts by deciding which medium to choose. There are so many ways; to paint colorful impressions on canvas, blend colors, and work with shapes, textures, highlights and shadows. I am an artist who is result driven. Wanting to exhibit a sense of awe from things that seem familiar. Painting to reveal the abundance of beauty; which surrounds all of us in out daily lives. Striving to create works that share insight to timeless moments. That is my art. The joy of prying open a doorway to reveal a grander view of life is why I create art. Or, in my own poetic esoteric phrasing: Capture beauty from the heart of the mind’s eye.




© J. Arthur Milestone MMIII
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