Artist – Hadley Rampton
Some tell me I’m crazy for painting in the mountains in the dead of winter, or for battling swarms of biting flies in summer. And yet, there I stand for hours, working, feeling there is nowhere else I would rather be. I’m energized by the challenges and beauty of nature, by the dynamics of light, atmosphere and temperature in the Rocky Mountains and in the deserts of the southwest. The changes in weather that occur while I’m painting do not bother but thrill me. A storm welling on the horizon, gaining momentum, and catching me in its fury is exhilarating. Even the same location can time and again leave me with a sense of awe. Some days I work with great energy, slapping paint with a palette knife, dripping turpentine and then pushing around the thinned paint or letting the drips create patterns of their own. Other days, I’m quieter, and my use of the palette knife is more controlled, as I attempt to honor the integrity of each stroke. I work on instinct more than thought, for instinct holds greater honesty and clarity.
I begin by painting the actual scene before me, but as the work progresses I delve into the personality of the piece. A three way dialogue forms between the natural scene, the painting, and me. Which one speaks loudest changes from moment to moment, and, if any one becomes dominant for too long, the work can fail. It is the balance between the three that keeps me engaged. My paintings are a direct response to the environment and to my existence in it.