The art of gary steinley



All of my paintings are oil. Most are landscapes, but I do some figurative paintings and an occasional still life.  For the landscapes  I divide my time about equally between South Dakota’s West and East River scenery and towns. I also occasionally wander further East or West for cityscapes, ocean scenes, and other subject matter not available around here.

My preference is on site painting--not only for artistic reasons but also for the sheer pleasure of being outdoors. But, in order to achieve more variety in my painting (size as well as subject matter) I now spend at least as much time in my studio as I do outdoors.

Whether on site or in my studio and whether large, small, landscape, or figurative, I have two goals for my paintings. 

  1. (1)to provide a reasonably honest and valid representation of the subject and, at the same time, . . .

  2. (2)to use the elements of art--design, color, line, shape, etc--not just as tools for representing things like trees and rivers but also as subject matter themselves.

There’s tension there: the first, taken to its extreme, could be a photograph in paint, the second an abstraction without any apparent connection to the visible place or person.

But I love both--trees and shapes--and that tension is part of the thrill of painting. And, when things go right, finding the balance is even more thrilling.