Artist’s Statement

Jeff Benson

   Landscapes with architectural elements fascinate me.  But it is the texture of old boards, rocks,  rusting metal, and grasses that really excite me.  Give me a crumbling wall or an old house and I will grab my  brushes with a smile  on my face!

    Painting with transparent watercolors has always been appealing to me because they have a certain glow.  Also, watercolor is an ideal medium for creating texture.  For me, it is texture that creates a certain reality to  surfaces and gives the painting life and depth.

    I paint in a fairly realistic style.  I believe that details  enrich a painting and  provide fresh opportunities for the observer to experience a scene upon repeated viewings.  Also, realistic paintings help to preserve the history of buildings.  Many of the subjects I paint are taken from photographs of 30 years ago and do not exist today.

    Because I grew up in the small rural community of Sandwich, IL, farms have always been a favorite subject matter.  I am discouraged by the disappearance of so many farms and wish to preserve  them as well as farming activities.  I also love the old buildings of Europe, which allow me to paint with a more colorful palette  than I use  in  my Midwest paintings.

    I remember, as a child of about six, finding a rolled-up watercolor that a relative had done and thinking that painting was what I wanted to do.  Just as I took up science in college to better understand the physical world, I eventually started to take watercolor lessons.  In my opinion, you can’t fully understand something you see until you have painted it.  After 35 years  of teaching 6th grade science at the Laboratory Schools,  University of Chicago, I retired early, in the year 2000, and have been fortunate to be able to paint full time ever since.  The enthusiasm of the child now continues everyday as I paint and try to understand the subject matter I see.