Artist statement by Kevin McNeeley
The artwork being shown is from the past several years while I was working with different mediums and exploring figurative and architectural studies. What I found is I really don’t have a favorite medium or subject – I like to work with all of them. If I feel I am in a slump or not visualizing my subject well, I will switch from a brush and use a wide charcoal stick to sculpt the shape. Then I will go back to using a very wide brush. I often will switch between plywood, cardboard or canvas as mediums to paint on. I have been working with figure and ground studies which has helped me in the approach to my artwork. Squinting and just seeing dark and light shapes then using those shapes to create an abstract form. Then I start to apply the highlights and features to finalize the artwork. I try to work at a very rapid pace so I don’t labor over details that can ruin a painting. Setting a timer and using only a limited pallet has been the most successful approach. I try to finish the painting on the first attempt and try not to bring it back into the studio for touch up. Even Van Gogh said, “I might paint them over again, but I think it is better if you get them just as they come, off the heath.”
Most of my artwork is from life (plein air) and not from photos. The church cathedrals are the only ones painted from references. Finding a good background for my figure studies can be a challenge. To help in this manner, I use my mental imagery from the books I read by Emile Zola. Zola was friends with many artists and a popular writer during the impressionist’s period. And those artists from that period are my favorite to study such as Toulouse Lautrec, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Munch.
Kevin works as a free lance artist under the business name of K R M Custom Works. He is currently a board member of the Dayton Society of Artists as the property director. Kevin also designs and builds custom cabinets and furniture to suit his clients needs. As for paintings and drawings, Kevin enters juried art shows, contests and sells his work at local art fairs.