The series of landscape paintings featured in the CULTIVATE exhibition is about the simple, unassuming beauty of the relationship between a horizon line, the light of an expansive sky and the changing mood of the day.
When I see a landscape that inspires me it can be because of the glow of the light coming through the clouds that happened very quickly and dramatically, the smell of the air as it moves across the land, the contrast of color in a field, or the rising mist coming over the horizon. I don’t paint to recreate what I saw, rather I paint to convey my sensory experience and bring that initial inspiring experience or moment to life.
The landscape of the Finger Lakes region in particular has given me so much in terms of inspiration. I live in Canandaigua and even in our dark, gloomy days, I can have my breath taken away by the stunning beauty of the area. And when that happens, I don’t forget that image or that feeling.
My work starts from a photo or a sketch of the subject. I’ll start a painting from that, but the work takes on a much different identity once it comes into my art studio. That photo usually only serves the purpose in the initial stages of a painting. I work with acrylic paints, usually very diluted, soft layers that I build up very slowly to allow the paint to have some translucency to it, and allow the layers to glow and illuminate from beneath.
Two of my biggest art influences are William Turner, for his light and atmospheric technique, and Mark Rothko for the emotion behind those color relationships.
I am originally from Shortsville, NY where I grew up working in my family’s bar and restaurant, Buffalo Bills Family Restaurant & Tap Room. If there’s one thing that has been the most influential on my life, it would be that restaurant. It’s been in my family since I was 4 and has taught me a thing or two about the intrinsic value of good hard work. The great bonus of the business was meeting some remarkably inspiring, creative, and interesting people over the years starting from a very young age.
After I graduated high school I attended the Art Institute of Boston, California College of the Arts, and The Art Institute of Florence, Italy. I traveled to Egypt, Greece, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ireland. Right after college graduation I traveled the coast of Mexico for 6 months. Life was good and I was soaking up and loving every moment. But truth be told, I actually missed the Finger Lakes. I needed to see the world to realize how beautiful the Finger Lakes region truly is. I longed for the rolling hills, the farmland, the lakes. So, I moved back and rented an art studio above my parents restaurant. During the day I painted, and at night I was a bartender.
One day I hung a painting that was still wet on the wall at the restaurant because I wanted to get feedback. Two hours later a man saw it, loved it and bought it. That lit my fire and I started painting like a machine. My goal was a new piece or two every week. That was 2001 and my work has certainly evolved, but my fire, drive and passion to create has only grown bigger.
Meredith Mallwitz is one of eight gallery artists represented by Main Street Arts. She is featured in the exhibition CULTIVATE which runs April 7 through May 18, 2018. More information about Meredith and her work can be found on our website. View more pieces by Meredith Mallwitz on the gallery’s Artsy page.