When one experiences the work of Lynn Boggess there are so many elements that have to be processed. His paintings deserve more than just a glance, there are layers (pun intended) to each and every painting. The time and technique, density of the layered oil paint, an intense state of serenity, the vibrancy, texture, and movement of the composition. There is so much more to observe, an encounter with one of his paintings is a journey worth taking.
Something that has always resonated with me is how Lynn’s respect and admiration for nature is just as prominent in his paintings. Each mark that he makes represents the softness or the hardness of the subject. It’s clear Lynn loves to paint and paints what he loves.
We opened Lynn Boggess’ Solo Exhibition this past Friday, and the show has been a hit!
In honor of his solo exhibition, it felt like the perfect time to have a little one-on-one with Lynn and give everyone a chance to get to know the man who wields the cement trowel. My goal is for aspiring artists to find guidance in Lynn’s story and his collectors to learn more about him.
In the Artists Words…
“In the highlands where I make my home, much of it rugged, awe-inspiring and remote enough to call wilderness. Several times each week, it calls me out into its eternal power, stillness and solitude. The elements and forces of destruction equalize with the growth and life there – and I find that an important thing to mediate on regularly. Painting allows me an opportunity to weigh these things philosophically that I would otherwise miss. Those familiar with my paintings will notice that I am interested in juxtapositions – particularly in how the transient forces of water interact with the seeming permanence of trees and rock.”Lynn Boggess, American Art Collector Editorial “Timestamps” | April 2019
Boggess studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan and earned his MFA in 1980. His painting style fluctuated from 1979 until 2000, but one day Lynn went outside in search of some nature studies. On impulse he picked up a cement trowel and off he went. He realized the trowel created something special. After that experimentation, Lynn challenged himself to create 100 small paintings and develop his newfound technique. It became his addiction and that addiction led to his success.
“Lynn’s plein air paintings fulfill one of the most desirable attributes of an artists works, immediate recognizability. His landscapes toe the line of sculpture and painting. Viewers often stand and marvel at his creations for extended periods of time, standing in front, walking from side to side and peering across his mountainous surfaces, which protrude up to an inch off the canvas.”Clint Mansell, Director at Principle Gallery
Question & Answer
Below are a series of questions I issued Lynn, and he kindly took the time to answer them thoroughly. Enjoy! 🙂
Q. Is there something that or someone who inspires you daily?
A. So much of our lives are spent indoors, and for good reasons – our homes are comfortable, and our families and friends are there; most workplaces are completely under roof. The open spaces of nature, however, call to us to explore, find solitude, and to think transcendentally about the bigger issues of our existence. I grew up in a farmland region where this was a way of life, but much of my adult life as an art professor reoriented that routine. As I approached midlife, I found myself spending less time in the studio doing what I thought was my serious work, and, instead, looking [for] any free time to plein air paint – something I did really as just an excuse to take in the fresh air. On a bright spring day in 2000, it took on a different significance. I threw in a small cement trowel into my bag as I went through the door to paint for a few hours. It was a pivotal decision. It took only a few minutes of experimenting with the different textures before I realized that this was what I had been searching for. Landscape painting was reinvented for me. Two of the great loves in my life – nature and painting – had merged into something that would become an obsession. I spend long hours preparing to go, getting there, setting up, painting, packing up again, traveling back to the studio and refining, but it is never a chore. It’s a wonderful way of life – one that I’d be doing even if I weren’t being compensated for it. And I mean that sincerely, because I did just that for decades before launching my professional career.
Q. Is there a specific project, commission, personal creation, etc, that you are particularly proud of? What makes it so significant?
A. It was relatively early in my career, in 2007, the year before the economic crash of 08. I brought a trailer full of summer and autumn scenes to Principle Gallery in October. Half were sold before they were hung, many more at the opening, and I got a message a week later from Michele that the remainder were gone. It was my first complete sellout. And although I have had many since, the first one leaves an indelible mark.
Q. Which museum is your favorite to visit and why?
A. The National Gallery in Washington, DC has always been my favorite museum for so many reasons: the collection is serious and extensive, it’s spacious enough to see the works even when the crowds are heavy, the restaurants and bookstores are excellent, and the metro stop is close by. What’s there not to like?!!
Q. How do you sustain your ambition?
A. Painting in plein air can easily become an obsession. My wife, Jennifer, can attest to that! Stepping out into the largest and most fascinating studio an artist could wish for is always an adventure. So much is happening there that draws us to it. My ambition comes from wanting to record my experience in oil paint as best I can. It’s this objective that drives me to whatever excellent I achieve.
Q. Have you been faced with discouragement? If so, how did you overcome it?
A. There were many challenges early in my career – struggles with form and space while painting realism in impasto, juggling family, teaching, and squeezing in time to paint – were a daily concern. Now that I’m at mid-career, those problems have been reconciled and I must say – all of those past struggles give me permission to enjoy the success I’m experiencing today.
Q. In the beginning of your career, what was the best piece of advice you were given? Who gave it to you?
A. When I was a student at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, my painting professor, George Ortman, constantly reminded us of two things that I refer to everyday:
- Art is a search for form. It’s meant to be difficult. It means a lot of trial and error, successes and failure. That’s what makes it so sweet when it’s finally found.
- The first objective is to be good. Originality will emerge on its own. It’s a byproduct of demanding excellence.
Lynn Boggess’ Solo Exhibition will remain on view Tuesday, May 14th
Click here to view the entire exhibition!
For inquiries or to request the Lynn Boggess Exhibition Catalog, please contact email@example.com