Len Chmiel - An Authentic Nature (12)
Len Chmiel’s evocative oil paintings push the boundaries of realism, while preserving the beauty of the landscape and infusing it with palpable emotion.
Chmiel makes his home in Hotchkiss, Colorado, where he not only paints, but also gardens, tends his vineyard and fruit trees, and makes wine. Gardening profoundly affects his art. He has a strong yearning to get his fingers into the dirt. Nurturing a living thing from a tiny seed and watch it grow into a beautiful plant stirs such a deep emotional response within him. To Chmiel, gardening encourages optimism. If a plant fails this season, then perhaps in the next season he can do better. He finds the same is true with painting. At first a concept for a painting may not work. However, seeing it through may reward the painter with a painting that captures the essence of his subject and move him to tears.
In this episode of the Artful Painter, Chmiel explains that successful paintings start with a clear concept and good design. He talks about the importance of painting on the spot and how doing so forms a connection with the place and subject - connections and memories that still inform larger works completed in the studio years later.
Len Chmiel does not like to call himself an artist - he prefers to be identified as a painter. Yet, many artists who I have spoken with agree that Chmiel is one of the finest painters – yes, one of the finest artists – in America today. I’m glad to be able to share with you this conversation. I plan to bring Len Chmiel back in another episode. There is still so much to talk about!
In this conversation Chmiel mentions the Prix de West. By the time you listen to this episode, the 47th Annual Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition & Sale / National Cowboy & Western Heritage 2019 will have just finished. Chmiel’s painting, Lost in Space, was awarded the Wilson Hurley Award for Outstanding Landscape. Len has graciously permitted me to include an image of this beautiful painting (see the gallery below) in the blog post for this episode as well as the cover art for the episode.
I highly recommend Chmiel’s book An Authentic Nature. With over a hundred reproductions, this is a beautiful book. Order it while supplies last. The book itself will be a collector’s item – and more importantly – it is a lifetime source of inspiration for artists, collectors, and people who love art.
Click on the images above for a larger view.
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