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October 20th, 2020
This is an excerpt from the Fall/Winter 2020-2021 issue of the Upstate Advocate, Upstate Forever’s twice yearly print newsletter. To read the entire newsletter, click here. If you’d like to be added to our mailing list to receive future issues, please email email@example.com.
My paintings have always been about freezing the drama of that fleeting moment in time. Portraying that first glimpse that aims to captivate the viewer, the way light models the subject, that compulsion to pause and look. It's my judgment that watercolor is the best medium to convey these attributes. It’s a medium that relies on confidence and conviction for its application. A strong belief of mine is that maintaining freshness and simplicity summarizes the experience and engages the viewer at a level that's unequal to none.
Being a creative, I have always relied on nature as inspiration for my work. It started for me in my early years as a young child living and growing up along the coast of the Caribbean Sea with the backdrop of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains. This helped shape my appreciation of Mother Nature, especially the resources she provided for my sensibilities and survival. It's an indebtedness I feel we should all have.
I have visited 24 countries and lived in three. Living in the Middle East was a 7-year teaching experience of desert, dunes, and no natural waterways other than the Persian Gulf. My first impression was of amazement that life could be sustained in such an arid place. My paintings took a different direction; I was able to find the beauty in this environment that was void of the lush vegetation that I was so accustomed to. Without a doubt, it demonstrated how important it was for greenery of some kind, as its absence made me yearn for it even more. At the conclusion of this adventure, I moved to Spartanburg and was surrounded by the rich and varied palette of colors and places offered within the Upstate. The Carolinas and the Upstate have countless natural resources for artistic inspiration. The Blue Ridge Mountains, gorgeous lakes, countless waterfalls, and unmatched rural stretches of green spaces combined with its seasonal weather resulted in the perfect stimuli I yearned for as an artist.
Working with diverse groups of students at local institutions was a great privilege for me and afforded me the opportunity to share the Upstate's beauty while using it as my inspiration. My commitment to teaching spans a thirty-five-year period which included 11 years in the Upstate. I can confidently say that during my tenure in the region my partner was the surrounding natural beauty. Mother Nature was the focus of many paintings exhibited and on display in several public spaces. And through their display, I received the recognition to attain professional membership in excellence to the South Carolina Watermedia Society.
Being an artist is a solitary profession in some ways and adjustment to the pandemic has challenged me. Staying home was not difficult. Yet the inability to be in galleries to connect, share, examine, sell, purchase, and enjoy our profession has made my life different. And the inability to teach on-site workshops has changed the way I do business. I am now on a pivot into the virtual world of teaching and am working on video recordings of workshop presentations that will become available on my website or on a YouTube channel in the near future.
We thrive on the ecosystem that surrounds us. It never ceases to amaze me the way people react differently to various subjects in my paintings. Invariably the reactions to my landscapes have been embraced more favorably; people love to experience that captured moment in time.
View more of Dwight’s work at dwightrose.com.