Terri McFarland Paintings

For color is the type of love.
John Ruskin

More than any other practice, painting makes myself present to the world around me. Standing at the canvas, there’s an inescapable present-ness, an impossibility of not being present.

I make paintings starting from direct observation of the natural world. I look to see, and to find the mark my hand must make. I look to have the secret color (the memory of green in the autumn stalk, a fire burning along a shell's edge) yielded to me after the intimacy of a few hours spent with some piece of the world. In return I offer my affections.

Whether it’s a landscape, still life or portrait, what connects everything is color: a palette begun for a landscape ends up in a flower or a bug or in the portrait of a friend.

I work with both oil and watercolor paint. The watercolor paintings are made directly in the landscape while the oil paintings are made in the studio. The watercolors are made from start to finish with a deep breath at the beginning; all marks remain to be seen. The oils originate in pencil sketches with notes to remember later at the palette: cerulean edge, lightest light, darkest cold black- notes on the vibrations. The oils become themselves over weeks of approximations and corrections until a particular story of space and color has unfolded. The portability of watercolor paint allows me to directly observe and record colors in the landscape. The studio oils are intensified memories of color experiences. I finish when the space feels open, full of light and color, and everyone’s floating in it.