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Joan Barnum Artist Statement:
I am an oil painter with a deep interest in painting the natural landscape. I believe strongly that outdoor painting is essential for capturing the true essence of the natural world. When the New England weather doesn’t cooperate, I paint in my studio using my plein air studies for inspiration. Painting still life in the studio also allows me to paint from life when I can’t get outdoors. I was born in New Hampshire and have lived most of my life here, immersed in the natural beauty of this region. I’m endlessly inspired by the New England landscape, and feel drawn to capturing that subtle beauty in my art. I love the quintessential scenes that can be found in even the ordinary places in this corner of the world – the fall color, the white farmhouses and red barns, the snowy village scenes. I am drawn to the beauty in everyday things: an interesting shape created by trees against the sky, the subtle color hidden in the grays of a stone wall, or the way a road zigs and zags its way into the distance. In my current work, I am exploring the ways that color saturation, color and/or value contrast, rendering, edges, and brushwork can move the eye through a painting. Strong color, high contrast, detail, sharp edges, and strong brushwork help me show the viewer what I feel is the essence of a scene, while softness and simplification in other areas support the main idea but leave some of the details to the imagination of the viewer.