My work starts from nature, but rather than trying to imitate its appearance I want to reorder the landscape to reflect the way that I experience it. My foremost concerns are light and color, which I use as agents of volume and form as well as mood. I alter color and composition as necessary, my ultimate goal being the depiction of my personal response to the landscape.
Traditionally, the aim of landscape painting was to record a realistic portrayal of a scene or vista; I put myself in the middle of nature so that I can truly experience it instead of merely being an observer. While I love the beauty and philosophy of the genre and want to set my work in that historical continuum, I do not want to be limited by it. Instead, I seek to share the strong feeling of mystery that I feel when I am in the woods, knowing that there are many things going on around me that I am not privy to.
I use several strategies for identifying and translating my own, very personal response to the landscape. Traditional materials and methods are employed. For example, my paintings have many layers of glazing, my prints employ different intaglio techniques and my drawings are made with ink, brushes and bamboo pens. Key to my process are the square format black and white photographs that I shoot in the field. The photos help me to gather information from my time spent in the woods, aiding my memory later when working in the studio. They also provide me with an index card-like reminder of a specific moment. The square format from the photos often transfers to my images, helping me move away from the conventionally horizontal oriented shape of a landscape painting.
Donna Savastio, 2019