Dan Howard Artist Viroqua Wisconsin


Artist statement

I use bold brush strokes and gestures to bring my vision to the canvas. I want each viewer to get involved with the painting and not to simply “see” it. When you look at the brush strokes as brush strokes, you get a sense of the gestural performance that made them. With just a thought of the mind, you can go from seeing brush strokes to seeing the whole image come together. Once you see the whole image, you become aware of the many intricate details within the painting. One moment, those details are there, the next, they are gone and all that you can see are brush strokes. This is what I refer to as “push-pull.” This dynamic allows the viewer to experience the image and not simply to see the image. 

My background

It seems like I have always created. As a child, I would sit at the feet of my great Uncle Dennis. He was an incredibly skilled illustrator and one of the kindest, most modest individuals I have ever met. His simple approach to creating art was an inspiration to me throughout my childhood. He would sit in his chair by the window, sketchbooks and tins of pencils at his feet, and he would draw. He would draw anything, scenes from birthday cards, cartoon characters or nude women from the national tabloid papers. I’d visit him weekly. My Granddad had passed away and me, my Mum, Nanna and my sister would make weekly visits to the cemetery to tend to his grave. Afterwards, we would always stop by my Aunty Rita’s house for a break. My uncle Dennis was married to my Aunty Rita, sister to my Nanna. Uncle Dennis was a gentle soul. Always seated in the chair next to the window with his legs casually crossed and a sketchbook on his lap. His hair would be swept back in a “teddy-boy” style. Every time I walked in that room, I would immediately look over his shoulder to see what he was drawing. While my Mum, Nanna and sister would chat with my Aunty Rita, I’d sit at his feet with one of his pencils and a sheet from his sketchbook. He flick through some of the things he had finished recently and we’d all sit there talking about how he really should get these in an exhibition. He would always chuckle and brush it off. He wasn’t anything special, at least in his eyes. I feel I owe much of my creative passion to him. His modest approach to his craft. His relaxed personality. His huge volume of work. It seemed like he was always drawing because he truly enjoyed it and never thought he was somebody. But to me, he was inspiration itself. Throughout the years that followed, I spent so much of my time creating. I would draw, I would paint, I would learn origami, I even tried my hand at Chinese brush painting. Even throughout my school days I would spend my lunchtimes and break times in the art classroom creating and finishing projects. I was an art geek. Since then, I’ve turned my hand to many creative endeavors including traditional and digital mediums but it is in oil painting that I have found the most freedom.

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