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Artist statement: New Orleans paintings

By nature I'm one to not say much of anything, much less write anything that I would feel worthy of an audience. I suppose that's just my inherent soft-spoken, virtually un-opinionated ways brought with me through the years since a painfully shy childhood.

Recently I came across the NolaVie submissions page, which intrigued me. It said that my contribution, no matter how small I might consider my input to be, can possibly enrich the site's content by sharing it with others like you, who are now reading this. I thought, what a great way to communicate to the public, assuming the potential reader has the patience to read what I have to say,

So here is what I do in my little world of art.

What I am producing nowadays is not for the purpose of self-expression, of attitude, politics, etc (often a "convenient" general description of what artists feel and do), but rather that of sharing the reward I receive of enjoying the outcome of what I produce. My reward arrives in the likeness of my painting to its object or scenery, capturing the way light, form and color tones magically come together to produce aesthetic quality.

Like the shyness ingrained in my youth, there was an untapped innate joy that found me along the way, when engaging in projects in earlier years, upon completing those projects. But I had dropped pursing the projects, as the time it took to complete them to my satisfaction became a frustration.

Then, not long ago, a gift-giving pursuit led to several more aesthetic experimental projects. I  re-connected with those feelings of joy, and got hooked!

For me, it's all about going into an image and see all the little details, then to the best of my ability matching those lines and colors, laying them down perhaps in bigger squares. Then going back, staining layer upon layer before finally reaching that point of satisfaction. That is what painting and art means to me.

Then, as now, my satisfaction was not met until I achieved a likeness as close as I possibly could to the object of my project.

I have greater understanding now that, because of my style of painting -- realism -- my projects take longer than most to complete. The in-progress projects in the photo gallery might best be titled, simply, "Paintings from New Orleans." Enjoy.


Artist Ralph Songy submitted this essay and photo gallery to NolaVie. Follow his canvases in progress at his blog, Paintings from New Orleans by Ralph.