Artist Daniel Coston paints places and landscapes that evoke memories and tell stories. To see more of his portfolio, visit his website.
What makes a place special, unique, memorable? The concept of “sense of place” is one that I’ve explored through my paintings throughout my entire career, while focusing on themes like isolation, abandonment, and decay.
I am particularly drawn to paint those places and landscapes that on first glance might appear ordinary, unremarkable or inconsequential, but on further inspection reveal histories and details that can amaze and inspire.
My understanding of the complexity of “place” has evolved over the years as my skills as an artist have matured. In my early years, I was more interested in creating “portraits” of the things around me that caught my eye, including old country churches, barns, abandoned home places and so on. Being from the South, I am partial to scenes that are reminiscent of the geography I grew up with.
Currently, I am much more interested in rendering these places within their settings; some people refer to it as atmosphere or environment.
This desire has led me to portray the subjects with more realism rather than less, but with the goal of giving the viewer a way to step back and glimpse the big picture. In doing so, you start to envision the story behind the place, and to question what you know, remember, or think you know about a certain geographical area.
My goal is to use my paintings to draw out the essence of the landscape as it is and to make the viewer curious about a place, wondering what life was or is like there. I strive to portray these places as they currently are, not as we want or remember them to be.
My style is realistic but I stop short of photographic realism. I use realism as a tool, to depict just enough details to make a place recognizable and to give the viewer a more tangible experience, even for those scenes that are entirely imaginary.
Primarily, I paint with acrylic on gessoed masonite boards, but will occasionally paint on canvas. After laying the initial background colors and shapes, I begin the meticulous detailing process which includes many hours of layers and washes.
After laying in the background with large flat brushes, I progress to using smaller flats, then medium rounds. The final work is usually done with Robert Simmons White Sable #2 rounds.
There are so many places and scenes that I would like to paint, but only so much time! Next up, I hope to begin a series of historical portraits based on old family photographs of their lives and work. Never ending inspiration!