Since last we spoke with acrylic artist Steve Wilda, he’s been chosen as one of the featured artists to appear in North Light Books’ forthcoming AcrylicWorks 4: Captivating Color! An in-depth look at his selected painting, Honed to Imperfection, can be seen here. Today we talk with Wilda about his new work and the power of the vertical painting.
Acrylic Artist: Congratulations on being selected for the upcoming book.
Steve Wilda: It’s always exciting to receive an acceptance letter. Having Honed to Imperfection chosen for publication in the AcrylicWorks 4 edition is fantastic, yes. The North Light Books series offers such a variety of art styles from representational to abstraction.
AA: What advice do you have for artists entering work for the first time in a competition?
SW: It’s timing really, and chemistry, entering competitions, the right picture, and right juror. Artists shouldn’t be discouraged if their work is not accepted. Remember that juried shows are subjective, and are only that particular juror’s taste. What is not accepted in one exhibit could win an award in another. What is most important is that you like what you’ve created.
AA: The Chosen One, another of your paintings with a vertical orientation, certainly exhibits your hallmark style of meticulous attention to detail and a celebration of aged things. What inspired it?
SW: It’s another instance of that immediate, flash reaction and desire to paint something when first discovering it. The Historical Society in my town had the gnarled feather and inkwell on display. The actual feather was whiter so I aged it—I had to put my stamp on it. The concept quickly evolved to include a pile of feathers, plus the cracked eyeglasses to create a narrative painting. I eliminated one of the lenses entirely, giving the impression the owner’s vision was greatly impaired, and incorporated an inkwell—the one that was the ‘worst’ of the litter into the composition. The title The Chosen One certainly wasn’t in my consciousness backlog, it just appeared, from somewhere.
AA: Why the vertical layout instead of horizontal?
SW: This one had to be a vertical so the main feather’s flamboyant character would be displayed upright. The vertical metal latch of the wooden milk carton (upon which the objects were placed) emphasizes the vertical format of the painting, and leads the eye upward into the composition—it adds interest.
AA: What can a strong vertical painting accomplish that a horizontal one cannot?
SW: A vertical format gives the painting stature and an elongated grace. By leading our eye upward, it can imply that there’s more we’re not seeing, and can appear to extend beyond the top (or bottom) edges. A horizontal painting tends to be more framed, more enclosed by its borders, certainly in height. It seems more finite by its cropping and composition.
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