David Dunlop | Artist of the Week

David Dunlop is a modern-day old master whose luminous paintings draw from both Renaissance techniques and contemporary science.  His paintings have been shown internationally and are held in the collections of major corporations including Aetna Insurance, Citibank, Delta Airlines, GE Capital Corporation, IBM, Mobil, and more. David’s work has been reviewed extensively, including The New York Times and Art New England.

American Art Collector, June 2020, chose David’s painting, Brooklyn Bridge Ascending for its cover, and reviewed a solo show. Two articles by David, “Seasonal Transitions” and “May I Direct Your Attention?,” were published in Artists Magazine, April 2020 and July/August 2020. He was profiled in a Chinese publication, Chinese Oil Paintings, November 2019.

Brooklyn Bridge Ascending, American Art Collector, June 2020.

David won an Emmy and a CINE Golden Eagle Award in 2009 as the engaging host and writer of the 13-show national PBS television series, Landscapes Through Time with David Dunlop. In 2017, the second series was nominated for an Emmy. Landscapes… shows internationally and returned to U.S. national television in 2018.  Both series were directed by Connie Simmons and produced by SimmonsArt; the first was co-produced by Connecticut Public Television.

 David is the instructor in a multi-DVD series on painting landscapes produced by SimmonsArt, blogs regularly, and has followings on Instagram – #daviddunlopartist – and on YouTube – search “David Dunlop videos.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, he is conducting Zoom classes and lectures.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art invited David to lecture on 4000 years of landscape painting in 2005. He has been an artist/lecturer at many institutions, including the Huntsville Art Museum, Huntsville, AL; Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ; Springfield Museums, Springfield, MA; New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT; Caramoor Museum of Art, Katonah, NY; Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, VT; and Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ.

David graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the College of Wooster, Wooster, OH, and was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2011.  He earned an MFA from The Pratt Institute, New York, NY.  He served on the faculty of the Silvermine School of Art in New Canaan, CT, where he taught, lectured, and lead workshops, as far afield as Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and Japan. He was honored with their Living Art Award in 2017.  David lives in Wilton, CT, with his wife, Rebecca Hoefer.

An Interview with David Dunlop

Who are you and what do you do?

Raised in St Louis, Missouri where I was able to explore the Missouri landscape which fueled my passion for painting nature and preserving. I had regular access to St Louis museums which inspired me and motivated me to paint.

Why do you do what you do?

A passion for making images and reveling in the tactile and physical experience of painting. In painting I discover connections to pan historic and pan-cultural artistic expressions, for example, 11th century Sung dynasty landscape painting or Persian Mughal Diaspora works from the 16th century. They also serve as sources of inspiration.

How do you work?

I visit museums. I hike regularly hike through varieties of landscapes and cityscapes. My research preparations for teaching workshops, lectures, and classes. All of these activities are an essential part of my creative process in the studio. As Edward Manet said, 90% of painting is without a brush in your hand.  These activities inform my direction in the studio. I generally paint every day in my studio in varieties of sizes, on a variety of materials with a variety of tools.   In other words, I experiment broadly in my studio as a part of my working process. 

What is your background?

I graduated with a BA from the college of Wooster then, moved to NYC where I received an MFA from the Pratt Institute. Also studied at The Art Students League and at Robert Blackburn’s printmaking workshop. I have taught painting with various institutions as well as lectured on art, the psychology of perception. And art history.

What’s integral to the work on an artist?

Passion for your subject, study, research, and practice.

What themes do you pursue?

Topically, I chase landscapes and cityscapes. But those are overly broad subjects. I am interested in the transmutation of my feelings into the paint. I am attracted to integrating the history of art with the biology and psychology of vision. More specifically I love finding patterns whether to evoke the sensation of translucence and motion in a stream or, the textures of thick foliage or, the sensation of movement in a cityscape or a meadow

What work do you most enjoy doing?

The work I am facing on my easel. The pursuit of employing passion and problem-solving.

What is an artistic outlook on life?

Following your passion with scrupulous observation. Where the eye is distracted and the body lingers, stop and pay attention.

Name three artists who have inspired you.

Fan Kuan, Leonardo Da Vinci, J.M.W. Turner, and Paul Cezanne, (I know, that’s four). Their work reflected fierce intelligence coupled with nuanced observations and touch.

Describe a real-life situation that inspires you.

Yesterday’s walk through Times Square.  Friday’s hike along the Ives trail in Connecticut.  Live in the present. Find inspiration in the present.

What is the best piece of advise you have been given?

Stay flexible. Leonardo’s advice  of letting go of your original intentions and see what’s unfolding before you or as Picasso said, “Follow the paint”

Professionally, what is your goal?

To keep working.

A Painting Demonstration with David Dunlop