Diane E. Fairfield
The creative power in art can make the invisible visible. My passion is expressing the majesty and mystery, beauty and truth that are revealed through natural and spiritual realms.
Life in the intoxicatingly beautiful “big sky” environment in southeast AZ speaks of majesty and mystery and, for me, inspires the creation of contemporary expressionistic landscapes and skyscapes which often evolve into abstractions. I am captivated by broad expanses with perspective and distance, scenes that radiate color, contrasts of light and dark. These elements create that sense of mystery and majesty and spur me on to find ways to make the unknown known, the invisible visible. Ultimately I am inspired by God, His Word, His handiwork and the many ways He reveals His glory.
There are times when a particular scene, landscape or concept will inspire one painting only to lead me into a series built around that same theme. Yet there are also times when an idea demands to be painted and that will be the end of it rather than the beginning of a series.
Sometimes a scene will imprint in my mind and the power of its memory will become my reference. When possible I take photos of scenes that capture me for future reference. That photo becomes only a general reference once back in the studio. Replicating the image exactly, capturing all the detail, is not my goal. Instead, I work to convey the power of the scene as it impacted me, drawing out the most important elements and conveying them through paint, intuitive strokes and innovative materials. I capture the primary elements of the composition, blocking in large areas of color and movement and then begin to develop the work only using the photo or sketch very occasionally but letting the painting take on its own voice.
Master Painter George Inness from the 1800’s puts it well: "I had begun to see that elaborateness in detail, did not gain me meaning.... and produce the sense of spaces and distances and with them the subjective mystery of nature with which wherever I went I was filled. ... I gave way to my impulses and produced sentiments the best I could. . . "
Over time it has become rare that I use brushes, choosing instead to use implements that help me give way to freedom of expression to convey the impressions of glory I see all around. I love the lushness of texture, broad expansive strokes, and impasto work. These techniques open up the work for viewers to see what their hearts speak to them.
Imagery for abstracts comes in a variety of ways - through the simplification of landscapes, through isolating one very small portion of a landscape where the colors or motion capture me, through images I may have seen only for a flash of a second and especially through spiritual concepts from the Bible and words from the Holy Spirit. Or an abstract may evolve out of the simple process of playing with my paints and materials. I begin with certain constants and then try to just let go and allow the painting to speak for itself. To convey something in an abstract is, in many ways, more challenging than painting something that is seen in the natural. One does not have the guideline of the “seen” to go by but must rather go by what is seen at another, “unseen” level.
Working in layers of materials, spontaneity is key. I work primarily in oils and/or acrylics. Some work incorporates light interactive materials - films splitting light into its spectral colors and sparkling metallic elements. The materials both contrast and complement the luscious paints. A new, dynamic, interactive experience is created as colors and effects change depending on light and viewer’s angle.
Painting is an interactive experience requiring sensitivity to what is happening on the canvas as well as in my spirit in order to make the invisible visible.