This week’s May 8, 2020 Dan’s Papers cover artist Max Moran talks about the dramatic East End skies, working en plein air and more.
What was the inspiration for this piece?
The subject is visual “opera.” You pull over to the side of the road and witness a scene that requires a response. The skies on the East End can be very dramatic. One can be pulled into clouds colliding and colors emerging across an open field or body of water.
Talk about your art style.
Style is not something I am thinking about while painting. I have a method in which style is achieved, I guess.
Tell us about your artistic process
There is studio work and plein air work. I have just about finished building a new barn/studio on the property here in Baiting Hollow. There is a positive spirit or good vibe all artists wish to have occupying their workspace that spills out onto the canvas. Looking forward to creating a new body of work in this space.
I scout out subjects and locations to paint in an old red Ford pick up truck. When it’s found the tailgate comes down. I already have my paint and solutions with brushes in a bucket, field easel and rags that I use. It’s like a little traveling studio.
The East End can be very windy, so I use the truck to serve double duty and block the wind.I have a large aluminum cookie tray and glass or wood palettes with the paints I have selected ready to mix. Sometimes it’s wrestling to get it all down on canvas, spending hours looking at movement, color and relationships. Your eye moves back and forth along with your hand with confident gestures as the brush touches the surface. There is something validating about that. Leaves you with a feeling of progress.
With plein air, there are all the elements of being outside in nature with the light and moving sun requiring you to work quickly and find a rhythm. Time and light are always a challenge. You become a conductor with a brush in place of the baton. Studio work can be more controlled, but I favor working outside when possible.
If you weren’t an artist what would you be doing?
Being rich and directing films. We could do lunch.
What inspires you the most?
Biographies and visits to museums with Joy and Olivia. Every artist has their own recipe in the creation process: a pinch more of this, holding back on that. In our visual world it’s a favorable response to the subject that counts.
Where else can your work be seen?
When things return to normal, my work can be seen at local favorite spots such as Jedediah Hawkins Inn, Lieb Vineyards, aMano and William Ris Gallery. I take appointments for studio visits in the summer and fall, which allows for a much more personal connection between the work and collector that I really enjoy.
Visit maxmoran.com for more on Max Moran.