“Against the Rocks” by Roger Dale Brown
Plein-air artist Roger Dale Brown brings his signature style to Haynes Galleries in a midsummer show showcasing larger and smaller works in “Roger Dale Brown: Painting Maine.” Painted from life, Roger’s landscapes of midcoast Maine will be on view from July 31 thru August 30 at 91 Main Street in Thomaston. A reception to celebrate the opening will take place from 5 to 7:30 pm, July 31. The event is free and open to the public.
Brown, who calls Tennessee home, has traveled to Maine several times in the last few years to paint the state’s famous coastlines. Many of the new pieces in the exhibition were begun or inspired by his visit in 2013. He finds himself mesmerized by the charm, history, and natural beauty of Maine. “It has an old soul,” says Brown. “Artists are naturally drawn to it. It’s more spiritual.”
That spiritual, artistic quality is essential to Brown’s style and general approach to painting. He paints the places that speak to him, the ones that conjure some emotion. And he does so by painting from life amongst the elements that inspire him whenever possible.
Sometimes, though, certain elements make painting from life close to impossible. When scenic locations like Acadia National Park are packed with tourists or Brown wants to paint on a larger scale, paintings need to be completed later in Brown’s studio. To reproduce the ambiance, Brown looks over his written notes, his sketches, and plays videos he takes during his time at the original location. “The videos give you more than the visual,” says Brown. “You get sound and movement. It helps recreate the mood.”
To capture the beauty Brown sees in Maine, he employs a delicate mix of Impressionism and Realism. Each scene calls for a different technique. Brushstrokes can range from loose to tight, and color can be built up through thin layers to thick impasto— whatever is needed to conjure the feeling Brown himself felt that day. Each sweep of the brush is carefully considered, the result of Brown truly seeing what is before him and recognizing the colors and shapes that make up each vista.
The result is work that feels real, like you’re there standing amongst the sand, sea and and rocks. You can almost smell the saltwater and feel the warmth of the sun. In Out to Sea, viewers will feel like they’re watching dories go in and out of the harbor while the first light of day dances across the water.
“Maine is an artist’s dream,” says Gary R. Haynes, gallery founder and long-time friend of Brown’s. “Artists have come here for generations, but Roger’s looking at it from a new angle. He’s aware of the history of place, but he doesn’t let that distract from his vision. He wants to share the essence of the place in a fresh way and he does that beautifully.”
Transporting viewers to the moment he painted the beauty of nature before him is a skill Brown has acquired through years of painting en plein air. Committed to his craft, he never stops pushing himself. Brown is always looking to grow as an artist.
It’s paid off, too. Many of Brown’s oils have been juried into some of the top plein air and landscape shows in the country. One landscape was recently a finalist in the Art Renewal Center’s 2013-2014 International Salon Competition. Brown is also a highly-sought after instructor, teaching workshops of his own all over the country.
“Roger Dale Brown: Painting Maine” is a chance to savor the beauty that is Maine. It’s a chance to revisit an iconic terrain from a new perspective. And it’s a chance feel the emotion and experience the artistry of one of today’s top landscape artists.