TJ Cunningham - The Wonder of Being in the Landscape (41)


Manage episode 269718810 series 2772568
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TJ Cunningham grew up in Vermont in an area that was also a favorite place for Aldro Hibbard and Emile Gruppé to paint. If you have ever visited that part of Vermont as my wife and I did a few years ago, you probably call to mind the beautiful hills, mountains, woods, and streams. And nestled snuggly in that beautiful setting are the small farms graced with red barns and cozy homes that beckon to a simpler time. Just as Hibbard and Gruppé found inspiration among this landscape, so does TJ Cunningham. Though he no longer lives in Vermont, the intense desire to capture the beauty of the landscape continues to burn in his heart.

I first met TJ Cunningham back in January of this year at the Booth Western Art Museum. He was one of the exhibiting artists of Plein Air Painters of the Southeast that was on display at that time at the Booth. On exhibit there was a hauntingly beautiful and moody painting by Cunningham called Near the Beaver Pond. On seeing that one painting, I knew I had to meet TJ and eventually have him on the Artful Painter.

In this edition of the Artful Painter, TJ talks about what he drawn to paint, the importance of preparation before painting, and the unique tools and materials he uses. He discusses how outdoor painting is part of the preparation process. We also talk about his transition from gallery representation to his now being 100% self-representing in his home studio and his beautiful website.

TJ was featured in the September 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine in the series 21 Under 31: Young Artists to Watch in 2014. How true that admonition was, for today TJ’s paintings are an impressionistic tour-de-force. When you examine his paintings up close, you get a sense that TJ relishes not only a beautiful scene, but also the act of making the painting. In many ways looking at the surface of his paintings it’s not clear just how he made those gorgeous marks and textures. Using a variety of mark-making tools, he leaves a compelling mystery for the viewer to ponder. Each painting by TJ Cunningham exudes the wonder of being in the landscape.

Mentioned in this episode:

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