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My paintings are based on observation of the landscape in the Hudson River Valley where I live, and are improvised in the studio; the images are found or discovered in my memory of familiar places and developed during the painting process. Human beings do not appear, but their presence is felt in the marks left on the ground (furrows, fence rows, roads), and sometimes in the air (smoke, haze).
The Hudson River School weighs heavily on the landscape painter here, and the influence must be grappled with. I cautiously take energy from the tradition, but I choose humble locations and treat them more introspectively than most of those 19th century painters did.
The window has returned to my paintings after a long furlough. Now it is in the form of a frame or a mat which may also be read as an opening in a wall. Recently, I have been using metal leaf around the edges which creates a kind of frame while remaining an integral formal element of the painting.
I use beeswax (encaustic) paint because, in its unruliness, it encourages the accidental. It is almost impossible for me to use it to render, and I get an expressive, rough, sometimes dream-like product: I surprise myself. The surface can be scraped and sculpted, worked as one might work the ground with a hoe or rake.
Leigh Palmer received a BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1966. He has had several solo shows in NYC, Nantucket MA and Hudson NY; he has also had solos in Cambridge MA, Woodstock NY and Woodbury and Kent CT, and is currently represented by Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson NY. He is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and numerous corporate and private collections. He lives and works in the Hudson River Valley.
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