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Thursday, May 14, 2015

A disciplined talent

Along the Na Pali Coast, oil on canvas, 48X72, by Brad Marshall.
I met Brad Marshall on an overpass in Queens many years ago, on the way to a party at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Astoria. The shindig was drowned by torrential rains but we’ve been pals ever since.

Besides being a skilled landscape painter, Brad works in a niche industry unique to New York—he paints those billboards insanely high above the city’s heads. This resulted in his shoes being featured in the New York Times.

Porta Maggiore, Rome, oil on canvas, 42X60, by Brad Marshall.
Perhaps this regular aerial painting gig is what gives him such discipline as a painter. He seldom seems to get bogged down in self-destructive self-criticism. His studio work, which is represented by Fischbach Gallery in Chelsea, is consistent and assured.

Brad also paints en plein air. He once memorably called the total loss of focus that happens to all of us from time to time “flailing around.” Since it’s the bĂȘte noire of every plein air painter, it’s a relief to know it can happen even to him.

Isola dei Pescatori, Lago Maggiore, oil on canvas 24x36, by Brad Marshall.
“I want people to enjoy my paintings. When I was younger and saw some incredible painting at a museum by Bierstadt or Church or Sargent or Rembrandt, it gave me an incredible sense of euphoria and transcendence (yes, like a religious experience),” he told me. “I would love to think that one of my paintings could give someone that feeling. 

“But that’s not why I paint, I paint for selfish reasons. I paint because the process is so enriching, absorbing and fun. I don’t paint just because I want a finished painting (though I do want to see the final result). I paint because I love the act of painting.”

I asked Brad to pick out his favorite three paintings. This, Baroque Arch, Rome, 54X36, oil on canvas, is probably mine. The drafting is superlative, the lighting drives a wonderfully measured composition.
To see more of Brads work, visit his website, here.

Let me know if you’re interested in painting with me on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park in August 2015. Click here for more information on my Maine workshops! Download a brochure here.

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