My youth was spent surrounded by the pastoral beauty of the central Willamette Valley, just south of Salem. While Jefferson, Oregon isn’t necessarily on anyone’s travel agenda, there is an understated beauty nestled in those rolling hills, mint fields and Christmas tree farms that is unique to Oregon. The environment that nurtured me has definitely played a significant role in who I am both as an individual and my choice of subject matter.
In 2011, I picked up a paintbrush for the first time in 10 years My focus in art prior to that was mostly digital with some figure drawing, but by 2013, I was painting plein air at least once a week. In hindsight, it’s hard to believe it took me so many years to try it. Being present in nature, listening to teh birds, interpreting the patterns and forms around me; there’s truly nothing else like it.
It’s not just childhood nostalgia or scenic beauty that inspires me to paint wild places. Painting plein air is a very profound spiritual experience. It’s a reminder of the sublime power that holds everything together and where we fit in as humans, observing from a fixed point, attempting to extract some kind of understanding and meaning. While staring at that blank canvas, amidst the grandeur of the landscape, the limitations of human comprehension become very apparent. An infinite number of compositions surround you at any one time, and all you can do is tell one story the best you can, one brush stroke at a time.
– Daniel Bourdet