Artist Statement • Linda Howe
I was once asked to make a list of my values, the big concepts I live by, the ones I must honor in my day-to-day life so as to feel a sense of well-being. Right at the top were Order and Beauty. When I look at my paintings of lotus blossoms, Pacific waves cresting and crashing, or the light falling on a rain-wet road in the French countryside, I see that in each one, I've tried to convey a sense of the beauty, harmony, and balance I witnessed, the sense of "all is as it should be."
The beauty of the physical world has long been my major source of inspiration. In my family, someone was always saying, "Look at these beautiful roses!" or "Isn't that color gorgeous!" My mother sewed designer clothes and planted gardens filled with roses and camellias; my father adored the movies and stared at the ocean for hours; one of my brothers took photos of everything. I grew up experiencing the world through "thirsty" eyes. In fact, because I was a shy and cautious child, I often assumed the role of the spectator, the silent witness.
Now my paintings are that silent witness, that observer of the beauty of our world. I want viewers of my paintings to see what I saw in a certain place, at a specific time. I want them to hear the pounding of the surf and feel the sea spray on their faces, as I did; to marvel at the colors of a sunset ; to admire the symmetry of a lotus blossom.
In deciding what to paint, I am often attracted to strong contrasts of light and dark, of color, or of texture. I am immediately fascinated when these contrasts are balanced in a way that creates order and harmony. For me, this is a visual metaphor for the balancing act we all must do if we are to create viable, satisfying lives for ourselves.
Many people have noticed a photographic quality to my paintings. This is not surprising to me because I have always loved the work of photographers like Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. Undoubtedly another huge influence on my work is black-and-white cinema, especially film noir and the work of Alfred Hitchcock. These modern masters taught me how compelling the visual experience can be in the absence of color.
My paintings encompass a wide variety of media: oil pastel, soft pastel, pen & ink, colored pencil, water-soluble colored pencil, watercolor, and graphite.