Doug Whitfield Paintings

Artist Statement

Montage of detail images

My compositions are dreamlike; they blur myth, history and fantasy together. My characters gesture to you dramatically and strike romantic poses on the stage of my fantastic theater. They are cognizant of you, just as you are of them. In my ambiguous dramas, the beautiful and grotesque seem but two sides of the same coin. The point of these juxtapositions other than for your delight, is to engage the power of your imagination to reconcile the ambiguity. My performers beg you to step onto their stage and play along with them in my fantastic theater.

My studio is in rural upstate New York at Cedar Lake. Oil paint on stretched canvas is my medium and people are my subject. I approach each composition by imagining the emotional response to the painting I wish the viewer will have. Then I conceive a complex arrangement of characters and clues the viewer will use to figure out a story and how they (the viewer) fit into the drama on my stage. I have a strong foundation in drawing and classical painting, which underly my compositions. I love the way Leonardo da Vinci used arrows, numbers, and assorted drafting notations to clarify his classical drawings.

I work on several paintings concurrently. As in stage productions, I have characters I use over and over who play different roles. Concurrent compositions often share the same characters, palette and themes.

Collectors around the world own my paintings. Many painting awards and honors have been delivered to me, but these are not the reason I paint, and are no measure of the significance of my work. Instead, the most meaningful measure of my work's value is the ever-growing intense interaction that my patrons develop with my paintings.