Watercolor, 38" x 28", matted and framed
By Tom Perkinson
As a boy growing up in rural Indiana, I became fascinated with the landscape on the farm where we lived. Being close to the land and experiencing the small details of nature while playing outside became extremely formative experiences. I do have some specific strengths as a painter. I suppose the primary one is my work ethic, which I learned from my farmer father, and that is to stay with a painting until it reveals itself to me. And I never miss a chance to study the landscape in different weather and lighting conditions. And another strength I have is that I have learned that passion is more important than talent. Even though I have the talent, I am highly motivated to paint every day. And I have learned that excellence does not require perfection. I see artists get caught up in the pursuit of perfection, and then loose sight of the meaning in their work.
What sparks me to paint is the excitement of what I will see when I paint, and the thrill of discovering something new that I create. I really don't know what the painting will look like when it's completed, because I am not working from a photo. Yet the subjects that I paint are representational, they're in the realm of realism. But at the same time the imagery is romantic and idealized. And I create the painting with a passionate approach to color, subject and composition, and passion is romantic.
I've always been a painter. For many years I have focused my subject matter on the landscape of the southwest, particularly the New Mexico landscape, which has a singular quality of grand vistas and dramatic lighting. I grew up in Indiana. I was six years old the first time I saw New Mexico, and I told myself then that I would live here someday. I left Indiana to earn my Bachelor of Arts degree in OKlahoma. Then I moved to New Mexico in the sixties to go to graduate school, and I earned my Master of Arts Degree from the University of New Mexico. After graduating, I taught art at the university for for two years, then committed myself to painting full time. And that's how it's been all these years, living in and loving New Mexico. I've lived in Corrales, New Mexico since 1985.
I really love working in watercolor mixed media. I paint intuitively, and I am always just right behind the watercolor, in the sense that as the watercolor is moving, while it is wet, I follow it and decide different ways to manipulate it, using all the techniques I have discovered and invented through the years. My style is spontaneous, loose, full of energy and life, and changes from moment to moment. Painting is a journey of discovery.
The most important thing for me when I start a new piece is to be confident and positive in thought. I never entertain doubt or fear when starting a new painting, because those emotions tend to close the door to my creative process. I keep my mind open to all possibilities as the painting moves forward. I feel that I am just behind the images as they reveal themselves to me.