RJ Marchand, Water and Light

Like many people I’m drawn to the water, the beauty of its movement and the play of light on its surface.  It’s why I’ve chosen to live near the ocean and, why I’ve made water and light such a focus of my work lately.

That attraction has me reflecting on the interplay between abstraction and realism.  I don’t like to be pigeonholed so I don’t think of myself as a landscape painter, a wildlife painter, or an abstract painter; but there are elements of each of these in many of my paintings.  Abstract and realistic paintings are usually seen as polar opposites, but I think they sometimes overlap.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in the depiction of water.

When you go to the beach and watch the waves coming in you may think that you see a distinct wave curling and crashing, but what you are really seeing is light reflecting off of the pure abstract forms that nature creates.  Waves have a structure of course, formed by the laws of physics but also created by the chaos inherent in the moving water. So to paint that wave, you must see both the abstraction and the structure at once.  As I’ve said many times, the most challenging part of painting is not painting at all, it’s seeing.