Artist Jeff Ripple combines his emotional response to light and atmosphere with an accurate depiction of the scene to create luminescent landscape paintings. Visit his website to view more of his portfolio.
I am a self-trained oil landscape painter who relies on rigorous regular practice in drawing and painting as part of my process. I love to work in nature and often sketch in graphite and white chalk on tan paper or in oil on small panels. I am probably happiest painting from my canoe on a quiet stretch of river or perched on a mountain ledge.
I focus on creating “painted sketches” outside rather than highly finished pieces, though I may continue to develop these small paintings once I return to the studio. My work in the studio evolves from graphite composition sketches and my outdoor studies and photographs.
Studio paintings are generally more contemplative, with carefully rendered underpaintings and layers of glazing to achieve a luminous mood and atmosphere reminiscent of the 19th Century Luminist tradition.
My oil paintings in the field and studio are inspired in particular by dramatic clouds and skies and gorgeous light. I primarily paint Florida swamps, the Appalachians, southern rivers and coastal scenes.
I arrived at a career as a landscape painter in a rather indirect fashion. I painted wildlife in acrylic as a kid, but stopped after learning as a teenager that I suffered from red-green color vision deficiency. After college and during a short-lived corporate career, I picked up photography and taught myself to use a wooden large format camera to photograph the landscape with color transparency film.
In 1996, I began selling my photographs full time at outdoor festivals and over time developed several friendships with painters there. At some point I discovered and became enchanted by Hudson River School paintings. From then on, those paintings directed my approach to photography.
I began drawing again sporadically, and in bursts of inspiration cranked out an occasional painting. My painter friends were encouraging. They emphasized that as long as my compositions and values were solid, the manner in which I saw and interpreted color would be merely part of my personal expression.
In 2010 I threw myself headlong into painting. The Hudson River School and Luminist styles of painting felt natural for me due to their somewhat subdued color palettes and emphasis on detailed drawing and dramatic light effects. I identified with those painters themselves because they were inspired by nature and did a lot of their work outside in it.
The historic works of Frederic Church and Herman Herzog as well as modern efforts by Erik Koeppel and Joseph McGurl have been critical painting instruction. Painter Asher Durand wrote that painting nature connected with “the real creation around and within us,” which has me thinking about a poetic realism in landscape painting.
For me, this is accurately describing a scene in paint while infusing the painting with my emotional response to the light and atmosphere on that landscape. Such a painting may not be of a precise location or moment in time, but it is always believable, true to place, and like a poem conveys an emotional connection. This poetic realist philosophy is what drives what I paint now.