Freehold, New York|
View Artist Statement
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Gallery Direct Interview with STANLEY MALTZMAN|
Inspired by nature and its beauty, Stanley takes the elements it presents and interprets them in the light of his own feelings to create each work. He feels that there is a certain sense of communion with nature that he captures in the field or woods that cannot be achieved by working indoors. Highly acclaimed as a landscape artist, Stanley is also an accomplished author and educator.
At what point in your life did you make a conscious decision that you were going to pursue art as a career?
In the early 1940's, while I was sketching the happenings aboard ship (the USS Centaurus), I felt this great feeling and thought, "What a wonderful way to live- being an artist and recording life and nature around me".
Who gave you the most encouragement during the early years of you career?
I was fortunate to meet some very special people in my early endeavors: Gertrude Dennis of the Weyhe Gallery, John Clancy of the Frank Rehn Gallery and Sylvan Cole of the AAA Gallery, all in New York. These wonderful people encouraged me and gave me much information on the arts.
What formal or informal education have you found most useful?
Something that I found most useful toward my art education was attending life drawing classes. After work, one night a week, I would hurry to a class, which greatly helped further my development. I feel so strongly about the importance of life drawing that I have organized a weekly sketch group in my community. Also, viewing museum and gallery exhibits was very beneficial and I continue to attend as many exhibits as I can. There are always new things to be learned.
What art mediums do you work in and which is your favorite; why is it your favorite?
I enjoy working in all mediums, but for some reason I always drift back to drawing. The ease of making a statement with a piece of charcoal, the strong feeling created by a simple line - these wonders always appeal to me.
What life experiences have most influenced your choice of subject matter?
I think my early years in scouting were a strong influence in developing my reverence for nature. As I've grown older, I have also become fascinated by the human figure.
Whose work do you relate to the most?
That's difficult to say as I admire and study the work of many fine artists. I'd have to mention the drawings of the Old Masters, the freshness of Homer watercolors and Inness landscapes. But I think I relate to Charles Burchfield most because when I exhibited at the Frank Rehn Gallery, Mr. Clancy (who represented the Burchfield collection) would call me to come to the gallery to see new Burchfields he had just acquired. He would then proceed to tell me what had transpired between him and Burchfield and what Burchfield had related to him about the inspiration for the paintings.
What was your greatest success and your biggest setback?
There have been some wonderful successes like becoming a member of the P.S.A., exhibiting in the National Academy six times, the publication of my two books, Drawing Trees and Drawing Nature, and winning the Childe Hassam Fund Purchase Award twice. It is hard to say what was a big setback in my career as I am fortunate enough to have the ability not to dwell on setbacks. Life and time are too short.
What is it about “plein air” that you find so satisfying and fulfilling?
I have been a "plein air" painter all my life- I just did not know it until it became such a popular adjective! Working outdoors gives me a greater feeling for the landscape and objects that I enjoy depicting in my work.
What role do you think your emotions play in the creative process?
I believe emotions play an important part in my creativity: a walk in the woods, a tree that beckons to me, music, the sky (sunsets, clouds) and many other sights and sounds will stir my emotions and get the juices flowing.
What are your favorite pieces of work you have done so far and why are they your favorites?
My art career has spanned a half century and there have been many favorites, but at the moment one is the "Orchard Icon II," a 30x40 drawing of the remaining apple tree of a once-flourishing orchard. In its dying splendor, there is a strength and beauty of form the magnificence of which moved me to draw and paint it. One evening as I was walking from house to studio, I noticed the beauty of the last rays of the sinking sun playing on a tree trunk and lower branch. The resulting pastel painting "Evening Embers," is another of my current favorites.
What other interests do you have besides drawing and painting?
I love to get lost in printmaking and I also enjoy teaching. It is wonderful to meet and instruct people, to see them improve over time and to keep in touch with them and follow their progress. I also enjoy collecting and carving decoys - much fun.
If you were to give a student just starting out in their career some advice, what would that be and why?
My best advice to someone just starting out in the art field is to seek out all the wonder around you: the landscape, museums, exhibits, books, etc. All of these things will help to broaden your knowledge. What a wonderful thing to see Rembrandt etchings or watercolors by Homer or countless other beautiful works of art. They are all there to stimulate your growth as an artist, so enjoy, believe in yourself, and persevere!
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