John Clark Gleason
Artist’s Statement

As a youth, I spent time on the Washington coast, swam in its frigid waters and dug for clams. Later, I worked in the woods for a lumber company and felt the “high lonesome” of wind and weather. I want to impart the mind-set of those experiences to those who view my work. I paint the mountains, waterways, and verdant landscapes that surround us in the Northwest, and also in the Southwest. I think about their relationships to urban experience and to the research that supports our knowledge that the mountains, woods and waters aid our mental health.

I have been melding the experience of that Northwest expansiveness with corresponding colors and shapes evident in the Southwest--a landscape of space, mountains, rushing water, red rock, and green rivers’ edges. These terrains combine in my work as necessary components of our inner/outer natural landscape. My paintings are inspired by the world as a setting for the evolution of the seasons and of nature’s elements as felt by personal experience and imagination. I am fascinated by the monumentality of open spaces.

I use oil and acrylic paint on canvas. I combine a furry brush stroke with the definitive mark of simple tools to create soft and hard areas in my landscapes—visual places of activity, contemplation, and rest. I want to give the viewer an idea of the sky’s etherealness, earth’s durable, linear elements, river water’s flow, and mountains’ majesty.

My work is colorful and celebratory. I see it as a journey with an imaginary map that leads the viewer into a shared, yet mysterious story. My paintings are portable, intimate, inclusive. They embody references to experiences felt in nature and in the mind’s eye, illusions and yearnings for connections with Nature that belong to people from all walks of life, every country, race, age, gender, and philosophy.