Willis Wilburn

Artist Statement

    Blue skies are boring and I find it tortuous to paint one.  I would rather interpret the cluttered corner of a home, or a ghostly piano, or an octogenarian deep in thought.  I believe a painting should look like a painting.  The viewer should be able to see the actual brush stroke and in best cases even tell what size and type of brush the artist used.

    I prefer to paint in a style that exposes all of the layers of the piece, from the first swath of color put on the canvas to the last, finishing highlight in the foreground.  Therefore, I intentionally leave areas of the painting unfinished and incorporate broken strokes wherever I deem appropriate, all while completely finishing other areas of the piece.  I feel I am always in search of some kind of 'detailed crudeness.'  Occasionally, I find myself painting a purely conceptual piece in which I am not able to invoke this method while maintaining the concept, but for the most part I stick to this style.

    Light and shadow are always my main focus quickly followed by perspective and composition.  My subjects are often mundane but with the right light, shade, and shadow become pertinent; much like the people I choose to include in some of my pieces.  I am inspired by the things that surround me like crowded counter tops, good music, bad dreams, and psychiatric patients.

    I am a musician as well as a painter and constantly making connections between visual and auditory art.  For example, I equate an unfinished part of a painting to the feedback of a guitar amp and I see a broken stroke as the break in a singer's voice as he or she slips out of their own vocal range.

    Occasionally, I find it necessary to paint a blue sky.  Although I may grumble my way through the blended shades of cobalt blue, I am anticipating the great shadows that it will soon give birth to in the foreground. 

FW Gallery | 8501 Highland Rd | Baton Rouge, LA 70808 | 225.769.0582

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