The Man Behind the Canvas

Series emphasizes artist/viewer interaction

New gallery event increases artist/viewer interaction.

ArtMob’s studio’s three-month-long Front Porch series brings landscape artist Ed Morris to the studio this month, an appropriate setting for this plein-air painter whose deft handling of light and texture has made his work much sought after. “Not knowing any better, I used to paint from photos instead of from life,” Harris says of his earliest work. “But a photograph simply doesn’t have the optics of the human eye.”

Morris’ manipulation of light stems from his ongoing study with Joe Paquet, who teaches the prismatic palette first developed by the influential mid-twentieth-century instructor Frank DuMond. It’s a highly detailed system of capturing nature’s subtle shifts in color caused by atmospheric effects.

“We’ve been working together for almost a year now,” Morris says of his studies with Paquet. “Our discussions are never about style, brushwork, or subject matter. They’re technical in nature and have been about improving my artistic skills, which brings confidence. And confidence brings art.”

Morris’ landscapes, painted directly from nature, are often produced in just one or two sessions; he applies a finishing layer of paint while the initial layer is still wet. Or he may draw on previous training with artists of the Hudson River School and its use of thin, glazed layers that lend depth and texture. “Nature always provides a perfect balance of light, color, and harmony,” Morris observes. “You just have to be able to see it.”

Coming Rain

But he doesn’t limit himself to landscapes. He also works with still life, like his colorful and playful “Candy” series and a popular seasonal scene he produces each year for Christmas. These studio works are more time-consuming, representing up to six months of intensely focused work, in contrast to the spontaneous gouache and watercolor sketches that he makes, Morris says, for “the sheer joy of painting them.” 

He’ll be bringing up to a dozen of his works, mostly landscapes, for this month’s Front Porch event, even working on a painting while he chats with visitors.

 “We’re creating this unique event to say to the public, ‘Artists are people too,’” says the venue’s owner, Michele Sparks. “We hope the front-porch setup will make both the artists and the [attendees] feel as though they can exchange great stories.”

“Most of my paintings have a story behind them,” confirms Morris. It’s about learning to observe more deeply what might seem, at first, unworthy of a second glance. “I used to go looking for the extraordinary scenes to paint,” the artist says. “Today, I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary.”

This month’s Front Porch event with Ed Morris happens Saturday, Sept. 14, 11am-3pm at Art Mob Studios and Marketplace, 124 4th Ave. East in Hendersonville. (Next in the series, on October 12: Al Junek.) For more information, visit artmobstudios.com or call 828-693-4545.

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