Cumulative Nature: North Florida Palm Brush, 2019

Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 48" x 72" (diptych)

Images courtesy of the artist

Lilian Garcia-Roig

Tallahassee, Florida

I believe in the power of extended looking and suspended thinking as a means to discover things that might otherwise go unnoticed. I believe in the cumulative effects of small actions. The longer I look, the more I see and my “all-day” plein-air paintings have become documents of a real-time process: the accumulation of fleeting moments, the experience of the day.

As an on-site painter, place is integral to both my subject and process. I make large, often multiple panel on-site oil paintings of dense landscapes that overwhelm the viewer’s perceptual senses. Each individual painting is created over the course of the day(s) in an intense, wet-on-wet cumulative manner that underscores the complex nature of trying to capture the multidimensional and ever-changing experience of being in that specific location over time.

Formally my works are as much about the materiality of the paint and the physicality of the painting process as they are about mixing and mashing the illusionist possibilities of painting with its true abstract nature. On a more personal level, my on-site, nature-themed works ultimately have been about trying to negotiate the complex propositions of sense of place and belonging which so influence the construction of personal identity. It turns out that my creative work, like my life, has always been about reconciliation, improvisation and hybridization.

Having lived in Northern Florida for almost 20 years, I have been able to work extensively on two ongoing bodies of on-site painting series: Cumulative Nature and Hyperbolic Nature. Recently my lens has shifted from the “raw” & tangled brush to the burnt and eroded areas- The newest “State of Florida” paintings are a subset of the other series but are focused on this environment shift- For example, prescribed burns are routine in Florida & I wanted to use the charred landscape as a metaphor for the state’s current political condition.

In a virtualized world, one could consider perceptual plein-air painting to be an act of defiance. As passé as it may seem to some, my current postmodern plein-air painting practice is both relevant and potent to me. I believe that the very act of making and viewing perceptually based, plein-air painting invites discourse on our own ability to have a meaningful, even sublime experience of nature today.

As I continue to work in and with nature, I think about what Thoreau said: “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” In my works, I hope the viewer connects with how the landscape revealed itself in cumulative and unexpected ways. Ways that will hopefully create a desire to engage more fully, directly and positively in our own environment.