In unstable times, it is valuable to step back and be reminded that despite chaos, the world is still understandable and beautiful. My still life paintings evoke this ordered, stylized reality. I paint with an understanding of how people see and understand, not by recording every detail, as a camera or computer would, but rather by observing the essential, and editing out the unimportant and distracting. Working exclusively from life with no reference to photographs, I observe the ephemeral effects of light and how they appear to the human eye, re-creating the experience in oil paint. Through my selective and heightened focus and dramatic lighting, everyday objects are imbued with weight and meaning.
Linda Mann lives and works in Bellevue, WA. Mann studied at the Gage Academy of Art (Seattle, WA) and The Academy of Art College (San Francisco, CA). She has had solo exhibitions at Quent Cordair Fine Art (Jackson, WY) and the Hyatt Regency (Bellevue, WA). Mann has been selected Associate Living Master by the Artist Renewal Center as well as a Finalist in their 2019 and 2020 International Salons.
What initially drew you to your medium/media of choice?
I choose to work in oil paint because I love the sensuous, buttery feel of it and how it allows me to make such varied brushstrokes, from a tiny delicate line to a bold stroke of color. With oils, I can paint with a variety of techniques, to achieve a transparent glaze, a thin scumble, or a juicy impasto. With oils, I can layer paint using all of these techniques to achieve great subtlety and variety.
What aspect of your art do you hope really comes across to your audience?
I hope that my audience can see that I paint from life, never from photographs. Only from observing life can I see the true form and color of objects, and how the light interacts with them. A photograph flattens out and can distort forms, and can never show how light really looks as it bounces around a set-up. Working from life results in a rich painting with solid, 3-dimensional forms and convincing and glowing light.
Who inspires you in your life, whether it be artistically or otherwise?
I am inspired by the paintings of the great Spanish still life artists of the 17th Century, particularly Juan Sanchez Cotan and Juan van der Hamen. I love their dramatic compositions and lighting, and their compelling realism. I also find inspiration in the music of Beethoven and Mozart, for its drama, complexity, and beauty.
What keeps you going as an artist? Where do you find that creative drive?
I've always loved being in my studio, creating these little, perfect worlds in my still lifes. In composing and painting them, I mold the world into my own image of order, beauty, and drama.
Tell us about your primary goal for the future. Has this goal changed over time?
My primary goal for the future is to improve my work and continue to grow, creating compelling and beautiful still lifes. Also, for almost 30 years, I have been focusing on painting, and would now like to connect more with the world and find a wider audience for my work.