Paintings that are narrative or thematic

Featured Artist Mike Watson

Two Crows for a Secret Never to be Told, Oil on Masonite, 24” x 30”, 2006
In 2003, after twenty years of allowing my artistic talents to lie fallow, I picked up a paint brush. My first paintings were simple still lifes and wild life scenes. These early works provided me with the opportunity to relearn painting techniques and develop my painting style.

During the past few years, I have concentrated on paintings that are narrative or thematic. My intention is to force the viewer to think about the images and figures and how they might relate to each other. The theme for some of my work originates from the lyrics of my favorite song writers. Other paintings have inspired me to write original songs relative to them. I have performed these songs at recent shows. My work is very personal and reflective of recent life experiences. I attempt to hide my feelings within a painting’s imagery and hopefully provide the viewer with something interesting to look at and reflect upon, even after they have walked away from the painting.

Considerable time is spent contemplating images that would best translate the narrative. I primarily do this in my head and when ready, put down on paper rather crude pencil sketches of what “might be” the final painting. I do not do detailed drawings. I am a painter and prefer to work out “problems” on the panel, as I paint. The process of painting really becomes a journey for me. I am not afraid to move or erase items. Titanium white is a wonderful eraser. I use props, models and photos to provide a sense of proportion and detail, but in many areas of the panel, I work from some long lost memory that seems to surface.

I work in oil and paint on gesso-prepared masonite hard board panels. My work is rather detailed and I prefer a smooth surface. I paint in layers, building up images through 4-6 layers. The final layers provide the opportunity to create more detail. This is my favorite time while working on a painting. Objects and forms come to life during this stage, and I know I am getting close to completion.

I hope you enjoy the paintings.

Two Crows for a Secret Never to be Told, Oil on Masonite, 24” x 30”, 2006 The Brew that Made Milwaukee Famous, Oil on Masonite, 12” x !6”, 2008 The Speed and the Sound of Loneliness, Oil on Masonite, 14” x 36”, 2007
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