WINTER 2012 Balaam, Continued from page 16 “Linear Expressionism” to depict the abandonment of homeless people, the frenetic energy of the mentally ill and the culmination of the lives in the elderly whose colourful spirits remained intact as their faces quietly portrayed and contrasted the fading of their lives. Light is very important in the landscape of the coast so it seemed natural to use the same Raw painting technique for the my coastal forest paintings that I used for my treescapes because I wanted to give the distant and foreground light equal weight as they burst forth through the foliage. With the magnificent vision of ancient trees rooted in stone surrounded by the hustle of the foaming liquid light before me, my next question was how to create the energy and rhythm of the powerful and vast ocean. For the vibrant writhing light of the Pacific ocean, I instinctively seized the expressive linear style of my portrait paintings with its consuming energy contained in singular brilliant lines. In this style, colours are “born” onto the canvas as solitary lines. They interact and coalesce with their contemporaries, then in their own time, leave the life they once described as they exit their journeys of life on the canvas. I believe this linear element in my paintings once again best explores individuality versus connectedness while imparting the essence of movement, energy and life to the stillness of the frozen moment on
Linear Expressionism – Rock Musician Portrait Series – Jerry Garcia – 30” x 40”
A portion of Ocean Light Through the Trees- Sea Air – 40” x 58” - Oils on Canvas
a canvas. For the present, my question was answered by using my linear expressionism to harness the power and surging rhythm of the immense ocean. Combining the techniques of “Raw” and “Linear” with a heavy impasto oil paint, I have achieved a vision of the living coast which vibrates with passion and energy. As an unusual style, “Raw Linear” came about not because I wanted to acquire an artistic style, it came about in the old-fashioned way as necessity breeds invention. I needed to evoke a power which traditional styles of painting simply could not achieve. Developing a style is like walking into a maze, knowing intuitively where you want to be, yet being prepared to take any twist, turn and backroad to find your way through. My ocean paintings combine the vigor of pounding waves with the valiant life energy of coastal trees as they cling to the edge of our world. For me, my paintings must always reflect my surroundings and they must continually evolve to mirror the reality of life while focusing on the beauty of living that remains amidst the forces that transform us.
It is the nature of all things to merge and separate in a continuous flow of life enfolding vast experiences into one moment, so it seems only natural that the fluid nature before me should include my pasts and presents and solidify on canvas in a present moment of time to be lived into the future. As I study my completed Ocean Light Through the Trees series, I see the energy of my lines used to create portraits of Jerry Garcia passing through the raw passion of Jamaican folk art, merging with prisms of stained glass light streaming through the canopy of individual and solitary trees facing the ocean: sentinels embracing light and life. Frank Balaam is a British artist living in Globe, Arizona who travels and paints in the forests of the United States. The Ocean Light Through the Trees series is an extension of the artist’s forest paintings incorporating the ocean light and trees from the Central Coast of California. Canvases range in size from approximately 6 feet x 4 feet to 3 feet x 3 feet and are painted with oils on canvas. His newest exhibition, Ocean Light Through the Trees, will preveiw at the Cobre Valley Center for the Arts, January 2 - 29th with an informal artist reception on January 21st, 10am-4pm. A portion of sales will be dontated to the Summer Youth Musical Theatre Progam, a theatre program allowing local youth to celebrate the arts. For more information, www.frankbalaam.com