My foray into art looked like MC Escher, day-glo paint and Salvador Dali. I met Walter Bartman, an artist who became my mentor. I started taking his ‘figure in the landscape class’ at the Yellow Barn Studios in Glen Echo, Maryland, at a repurposed amusement park in 1996. I’ve painted with Walt now for 24 years and taken classes, workshops and had solo shows, received honorable mentions as well as studying at other places like the University of Maryland, Maryland Hall, Chesapeake Fine Art Studio and the Schuler School of Fine Arts who’s atelier day program was out of my reach while working to support myself.
When I told Walt I was colorblind, he said ‘that’s a good thing; because, value is more important than hue.’ So I felt encouraged to keep painting.
After painting in acrylic for about 12 years, I received a gift of a set of oil paints and... I haven’t looked back.
When I first started painting, I loved painting figure and models. A friend brought their kids over and saw all my new paintings, and one of the then little girls asked me why I painted girls without their clothes on. I knew why artists studied the figure and anatomy, but I told her that I loved trees and could paint trees all day long, but that the most beautiful thing to me was a woman and that is why I painted them.
My journey is self-taught, pursuing knowledge and painting practice and trying to improve my craft. I am trying to paint my 1000th painting and achieve my 10,000 hours. There is what I see, what I want the painting to look like in my imagination, and then there is what actually comes out of my paintbrush. I remember Walt saying ‘you are making art, if you want a picture, take a photograph.’ It’s an ongoing and evolving process. I’m not sure if there is a destination; however, I want to make beautiful art. Many of my paintings are now in private collections. I want my paintings to go out into the world and create value and pleasure for the viewer and be as important to life as medicine and engineering. It’s an intangible, non-condensable concept... I want to paint cave paintings, so to speak, to make my mark by making markings.
Please visit my website to view more of my art at www.craigamaral.com