Libby Manchester Gilpatric
Nature and weather intrigue me. Painting energizes and excites me. Putting the two together is a challenge: finding new troughs and crests for my craft. Wind, sea, sky and earth swirl rhythm and energy. Yellow winter sunlight gleams upon steel-grey waters. Wind-churned ocean currents froth up waves irregular, booming, roaring, spewing foam and spray, in powerful gesture and singular attitude, sheets of spindrift slide and undulate. I begin to choreograph, partnering a loaded brush to the canvas. This ballet of painting breathes life and energy into cold short days – one day a passionate tango, another a dreamy waltz. Looking every which way, often inward, I'm acutely aware of the movement, patterns and rhythms along the tidal zone where the sea joins land – this island. I hurry to the studio to create this dance with my oil-primed linen partner – bony, blank and cool – waiting for me to take the lead. Often we trip over each other -stumbling, falling, wiping off, starting anew – the thrilling challenge of this ever-changing dance.
My paintings are compositions with pattern and paint with contrast. Color and value give my paintings structure. The subject may be any ordinary place or object - looking not just for beauty but energy, rhythm, vibrations. The fun is in finding a way to put it into a design, a pattern of lines and shapes, a cadence of different sounds made by nature's voices, a flowing and stopping of color - creating paths for your eyes to follow with paint thin and runny or thick and luscious using a chunky brush or a painting knife.
I think about painting all the time. Oil paint is an unfussy, low-tech, physical medium - exploring with a variety of color - putting warm tones against cool, laying down bold shapes of color and value. How do you see these buildings, a clump of trees, rocks, a sandy shore or undulating field relate as elements of the landscape? Since sandbox days the lay of the land has been my main focus. Once I decide on a subject, I have already been painting it in my mind. Applying paint to canvas is dessert - a journey to a Magic Kingdom. Painting adds much to your memory store. My wish is you too will carry these images in your memory and good feelings for a long long time.