Cobble Beach, 2024, a/c, 52 x 46"

I like the adventure of making paintings. I like paint in all its glorious variation: thick, thin, smooth, gritty, opaque, translucent, glossy, matte. Material stuff that I can manipulate directly on a surface. Making art takes me to places nothing else does. It satisfies me like nothing else does.  While I am a landscape painter at heart, I need the open-ended-ness of a non-objective painter. Color and authenticity of feeling comes first.

My recent work has a range that goes from more obvious landscape reference, to what might appear to be non-objective. Sometimes they feel like landscape, still life and portrait all rolled into one. While I tend to work in series, I find that the groups or types of paintings I make can sometimes take decades to sort themselves out. Sometimes an outlier picture will pop out, surprise me and not be followed up on until years later. Regular reviewing of past work offers gifts not seen at first. For some years now I have been working on pictures I call “Sea Stacks”, a label I adopted from a comment a studio visitor made about some abstract landscape pictures I was making. There are sub-groups within this series and hybrids as well. The Color Stack series is one example. I have also concurrently been making “Tree Portraits”, and more recently paintings inspired by my visits to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and the landscapes near Lake Ontario close to where I live.

For me, Art along with Science and Religion is part of the triangle of human seeking, expression and knowing. If the newest physics is correct, then our consciousness and the universe are inextricably bound together; one cannot exist without the other. Our reality snaps into being every microsecond that we observe it, as wave functions collapse into the physical world we know. And of course this is happening when we are making art. But this arena is different from everyday life; If we have done our work well, then we have opened up our consciousness and enabled access to something far bigger than ourselves.

"Here we find ourselves suddenly not in a critical speculation but in a holy place, and should go very warily and reverently. We stand before the secret of the world, there where Being passes into Appearance and Unity into Variety. The Universe is the externization of the soul."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson: Essays, Second Series

At its best, art transcends its apparent subject matter and illuminates the human spirit and our connection to the universe. Sounds highfalutin but feels true.

Throughout my evolution as an artist, my goal has been to make the best art I can using the best of the past as my guide, and to be true to my own nature. To do this calls for me to be constructively self critical, open to the possibilities of the moment, confident and humble. The studio and life in general always supplies the humble. I supply the fortitude. 

Scott Bennett, March, 2024