Robert J. Simone is an artist with the ability to see extraordinary beauty in ordinary places. His enthusiasm for nature and passion for painting are infectious. He has been described as a highly-skilled representational painter who possesses an innate sense of color and composition. Simone has a way of seeing, an artistic vision, which is uniquely his own. He responds to and paints the landscape in a way that makes it more accessible to the viewer. He believes the creation of fine art goes beyond the mere learning of a craft. He says, “The art of painting is passionate response to nature. It’s a way of seeing that orchestrates the broad array of visual stimuli into a harmonious whole.”
Mark blends traditional and contemporary approaches to painting in his landscapes – fruit of twenty years of evolution as a professional artist, that represent his unconventional background and adventurous life story.
At this point in time, I cannot imagine life without oil painting. It’s something I do every day, and have since I can recall picking up a brush. My work is founded on 19th century and early 20th century traditions in American landscape painting, grounded in drawing.
I do not work from photos, as a rule, and prefer to work on location, always in search of new vistas and expeditions. I paint with, and prefer with traditional materials that are sourced from nature: pigments and paint derived rom minerals, plant and animal material: linseed oil and linen, derived from flax; marble dust, turpentine, natural brushes. The craft of painting, taking advantages of oil paints luminosity and rich color, is a rich heritage with a long lineage.
Painting is ultimately about immersion in the landscape, about creating context for my experience. In painting our environment, I am interested in arresting my engagement and perception and I have tried to build a vocabulary to render it in oils. Intense focused attention and observation to render what I see is important in building an a memorable image. I prefer to work on location, refining the image in the studio.
Painting is to some degree a celebration of those places that survive in the wild state, at the edge; but it is also elegiac and frustrating, as we are losing so much to poor development and environmental exploitation every day.
Ultimately, I see myself as an American artist with roots that go deep in many directions. My family heritage is grounded in the southeast. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate degree from Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, Florida and have had a freelance/private studio since 1984. My work is in private and corporate collections in the southeast, nationally and internationally.
“Painting en plein air (taking my easel outdoors to paint in the open air) allows me to leave the interior space for the living world outside. The outdoors literally becomes my studio—a place for visual meditations while I paint the effects of natural light in oil. I aim to fill each painting with life, inspiration and uplifting beauty. I employ a painterly translation that suggests rather than defines a subject—it is not necessary to paint each blade of grass, leaf or branch. This suggestion naturally triggers the viewer’s imagination and memory to ‘fill in the blanks’ without overstating what they are seeing. I enjoy conveying light, atmosphere, and mood rather than a defined literal copy.”
Originally from upstate NY, Webster was awarded a scholarship to attend college at School of Visual Arts in NYC and graduated with a BFA in painting. By 1996, Webster relocated to Asheville, North Carolina. In the years following she transitioned from pure studio painting to painting en plein air (directly from life outdoors). In her own words, “Once I took my easel outdoors I was hooked. The mountains and natural beauty outdoors inspires me to get out there and be intimate with nature. My paintings are a reflection of that experience.”
Currently, Webster combines being a hair stylist at Mechanika Coiffure and a painter as the perfect balance to her creative work. “I get to create something beautiful and uplifting in my paintings and again directly with people’s hair. Being an artist combines well with being a stylist and each are tremendously rewarding”.
In 2003, Webster was awarded a Regional Artist Project Grant from Asheville Area Arts Council. Webster is a signature member of the Western North Carolina Plein Air Painters (WNCPAP). Webster’s work can be found in many private collections including Memorial line portfolio or email her at Colleen@colleenwebster.com