Statement of the Artist

These landscapes are based not just on versions of my own visions of the landscapes themselves, but also from sensibilities of the subconscious dimension, whether that be playful, brooding, sensuous, mysterious, nostalgic, romantic, humorous, etc.; whatever excites me according to the particular piece. Whereupon I "build" the paint onto the canvas with the compulsion to create in ways that are often evoking childlike sensibilities and my own imaginative urges and expand out from the surface quite literally with the aid of cake decorator, brushes, hands, and other tools; I am obsessed with the pure physicality of the paint and the process. Therein lies the mystery for me; and I suppose a rather Taoist philosophy in regards to art, nature, and life.

When I look at a finished work, what I enjoy the most is the abstraction of the paint and the process of the painting; with all of its qualities, surprises, and possibilities that capacitate an image from a vision that I have had and felt the compulsion to produce.

The paintings are often autobiographical (especially the earlier works) in that they reflect my upbringing in the small salt-mining town of Grand Saline, Texas, and the deep east Texas farmlands around Rusk where I spent a good portion of my youth in an 1860's farmhouse owned by my grandmother. Cresting waters, twinkling stars, perched herons, cows in a pasture, or trees that form an irregular pattern work to lead the viewer back and forth toward the horizon. The vantage point is often like that of a low flying bird. I like to recognize that nature with all of its incongruities is like life. Trees often resemble human figures and cornstalks dancers. Broken stumps become like arteries or veins and express pain, struggle, and lifes tribulations. Expressive patterns, as well as the imagery, suggest the cycles of decay and rebirth which repeat themselves constantly in nature. The demise of the small American farm is something that I feel deeply sorrowful about, and some of the work is depictive of this. Exposure to this wonderful but often difficult way of life was something I was fortunate to experience in my youth.

Much of the imagery chosen is a result or reaction to my own careful studies and education in the history of art and landscape painting. Often as a rebellion, even in the way I choose to apply the paint. But also, of course inspired by the great legacy of those many past works that I admire. Much of the work is painted intuitively, which gives rise to the idea of expresionism in the work.

The exact locations or sites recreated are less important than the character of the imagery I choose. It is the psychological or emotional impact carried by these images that becomes important. Scrambling the 3-D surface with the 2-D surface treatment is something that I like to do. The paint may rise as thick as five inches out from the canvas, or be so thin that the canvas shows through.

Nina Beall

Text and images copyright © Nina Beall