903: In your show description you mention your rural neighborhood and your thirty years of painting it and surrounding areas. What first inspired you about it?
NP: Living in a rural area was my main desire after living in Los Angeles for 4 years. My occupation at the time was as a designer of exhibits, tradeshows and museums. When I first arrived in Oregon 30 years ago, all I could see was the stunning landscape. Oregon is truly a beautiful state and I couldn’t resist the urge to paint it. The fact that I live in this beautiful place made me want to capture it, and being just outside my door meant I didn’t have to go far to find inspiration.
903: Do you remember your first painting from your neighborhood?
NP: The first piece I recall painting was a plein air piece in my backyard. I believe I still have the painting in my archive. It was of a laundry line full of colorful towels blowing in the wind and the background was an agricultural field abutting the road I lived on.
903: How has the area changed over the years? Did said change affect your subject matter or approach?
NP: The areas I originally painted years ago are essentially the same, so I think I’ve changed more than my subject matter. I traveled all over the country in my former profession, so I appreciated being home or coming home all that much more. Wanting to be in Oregon lead me to making a more concise record of it, so I subsequently got more literal in how I portrayed it. Early on my pieces were loosely layered landscapes, but they didn’t give me enough back, so over time my work got more detailed giving me a greater richness and reward for the effort of creating them.
903: How do you select subjects?
NP: I select what I paint from photos that I’ve amassed over the years of living in Oregon. I’ve created over 600 individual paintings in oil in the past 12 years and by doing so many I’ve come to recognize my main focus has been on shadows running perpendicular to the picture plane. Whether I’m painting a forest stream or a farm scene, more often than not there’s one or more shadows or group of shadows running across it.
903: Do you work off photographs or by memory or a combination?
NP: I’ve visually recorded Oregon with photography. I could not paint fast enough to capture the many beautiful scenes I’ve encountered. My photographs coupled with the memory of taking the initial shot is my chief resource for making a painting.
903: Your landscapes have a signature perspective that is somewhere in between traditional oils and illustration. How would you describe your style?
NP: My primary style is a type of realism that utilizes direct painting, glazing and scumbling as is used in traditional oils. Within that approach I like to use warm colors against cool colors and complementary layers against one another. All of these approaches are an amalgam of what I’ve learned or discovered over my life’s work.