Mark Gingerich | Artist of the Week

As a seasoned figurative and landscape artist, Mark Gingerich is known for his remarkable execution of contemporary impressionism. In addition to training at the Columbus College of Art and Design, Gingerich has studied under and been influenced by the artists of the Boston School of Painting as well as prominent plein air painters of today. As a historical nuance true to the original French Impressionists, Gingerich embraces the plein air technique as a valuable and distinct trademark in his work. Through his dedication to on-site painting, Gingerich shares their pursuit of achieving a truthful representation of the real world on canvas, while emphasizing natural light and interaction of color.

As a founding member of the Ohio Plein Air Society, Gingerich was selected as one of six artists to create works for “Paint Ohio,” for the Ohio Bicentennial celebration in 2003. Representing historic scenes from each of the 88 counties in Ohio, the project culminated in a traveling exhibition supporting the Ohio Historical Society and a book publication, The Land We Call Ohio.

Mark is an award-winning Signature member of the American Impressionist Society of which he has been a member for the past 7 years. Gingerich’s paintings are included in numerous public and private collections, most notably the Ohio Governor’s Mansion, former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger's collection, and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

An Interview with Mark Gingerich

Who are you and what do you do?

I am an artist/craftsman who loves to create beauty in many ways, painting is one of them. I come from a family that is known as fine craftsmen, builders in the Amish/Mennonite religious faith tradition. I also build gilded picture frames, musical instruments and build with brick, stone, and wood.

Why do you do what you do?

I am inspired by form, color harmony, interesting shapes, and by artists and craftsmen who have created beauty that lift and refresh the soul.

How do you work?

I begin a painting with something about a scene (either en plein air or from reference material in the studio from my travels and experiences ) that inspires. I am naturally drawn to certain subjects and will start a painting with a light wash of color over the canvas. From there I do a general shape indication and drawing. I then proceed to mix and put paint on the canvas starting with the darks and lights, then color contrasts. I seek to put on canvas the stroke of paint that needs as little revision as possible. I sometimes apply dashes of paint all over the canvas and in the slow process of continuing in this manner bring unity and cohesion to the piece. My aim is to convey a certain sentiment that I have experienced to the viewer, and in turn, eliminating certain things and emphasizing others.

What role does the artist have in society?

I believe an artist's role is to create artwork that awakens our emotions to something that is beautiful and sometimes overlooked and to find that which lifts or refreshes the soul through the artwork.

How has your practice changed over time?

I have changed as an artist over time in the beginning with more of an illustrator's eye for drawing and detail to more of an emphasis on composition and the immediate impression of a scene.

What themes do you pursue?

I tend to pursue rural farm scenes, garden scenes, and winterscapes. Occasionally I will do a still life or figure scene. Bucolic landscapes are my first order of preference.

What’s your favorite artwork?

My favorite artworks are painted by plein air artists and the impressionists of today as well as in the past.

Name three artists you’d like to be compared to and why.

I admire the work of CW Mundy, Quang Ho, and John Singer Sargent. I appreciate their authenticity, immediacy, and loose brush handling, and color handling.

What’s your favorite or most inspirational place?

I go to Holmes County, Ohio often to find inspiration among the rolling hills and farms. It is also the place of my ancestors.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Here is a CW Mundy quote that is noteworthy "The power of the suggestive is much greater than the statement of reality."

A Painting's Story with Mark Gingerich

"Gathering Wildflowers was a plein air painting done on our home property with my daughter Allison as the model. She posed for me among the wildflowers that spring produces every year. Harmony in Red and Green was inspired by a recent trip to Florence, Italy. My wife Shana posed for me in a garden called Piazza Michelangelo near the town."

Mark Gingerich on the backstory of his figural works