Still Water - Reflective Surface

Ed Burke - Croton-on-Hudson NY Studio

This period of painting began as small representational landscapes of the shorelines of ponds, lakes and other small bodies of water in and around Croton-on-Hudson and other Westchester NY locations. After relocating my studio from an urban environment of the city to the peaceful settings of Croton, I found inspiration in the scenery, especially the ponds and lakes near my new studio. For the first time I began to paint landscapes on location (plein air) that would become a large body of work.

I started my exploration of painting landscapes by painting with Hudson Valley artist George Kelly on location. His landscapes intrigued me with their bold use of color and single large brush strokes defining landmasses in his paintings. Kelly is part of the New Hudson River School of painting, I considered him the Abstract Expressionist or Fauvist view apposed to Frederic Church’s romantic view of the river. His work inspired me and for a short time my work was derivative of his approach to painting landscapes, an example of this is my painting titled “Winds of Storm King”.

When I found my voice for expressing landscapes it began as small representational landscapes painted on canvas with oil paints. I found that the oils on canvas did not dry fast enough, I could only paint wet into wet, this did not allow me to complete a painting in one sitting. I began to experiment with painting oils on water color paper. This worked well as the oil paint absorbed into the paper and if the paint was used thinned it would dry quickly allowing me to paint wet over dry and enabled me to finish a painting in one session on location.

"Overcast Day Croton Reservoir"   24" x 18"   Oil Paint on Paper

"Mt. Airy Pond"   24" x 18"   Oil Paint on Paper

"Visa Card"   Acrylic / Canvas   30" x 40"

"Delicate Ripples"   24" x 18"   Oil Paint on Paper

"Evening Breeze"   24" x 18"   Oil Paint on Paper

As I painted these traditional landscapes I began to find the patterns, textures, and rhythms of the water’s surface intriguing and demanding of my attention. I began to interpret the landscapes reflected in the surface of the water. These were small 18” x 24” paintings, oil on watercolor paper. As I began to develop a painting language / techniques for creating the scenes, I worked on large-scale paintings from the small on site studies. These larger paintings were painted on stretched canvas (60” x 48”) with oil paints. Applying thick textured paint and allowing it to dry before the next application of paint and so on, to build the desired texture to the surface created the textures and contrast for the shimmering light in the painting. I began to paint panoramic scenes, up to nine feet during this period.

"Autumn Sunset"   60" x 48"   Oil / Canvas

"Autumn Reflection"   60" x 48"   Oil / Canvas

"Autumn Reflection"   60" x 48"   Oil / Canvas

"Croton Pond Sunrise"   72" x 28"   Oil / Canvas

"Croton Pond Sunrise"   72" x 28"   Oil / Canvas

"Reflections Croton Reservoir"   60" x 48"   Oil / Canvas

"Reflections Croton Reservoir"   60" x 48"   Oil / Canvas

"Croton Pond Sunrise"   90" x 22"   Oil / Canvas

This body of work became more and more abstract as it progressed, finally ending with the painting “Red Streak”. This painting is a transition painting into a new body of work “Paintings From The Subconscious”. Red Streak is a departure from the process of creating the reflective surface paintings in that it was not from observation, nor the mind’s eye, it was a different and more visceral approach to creating works of art.

"Red Streak"   60" x 48"   Oil / Canvas

 Narrative and Copy Writing by Suzanne Ingrao

Copyright © 2019 Edward A. Burke              

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