“As Evening Falls,” by Paul Batch.

Sylvan Gallery will present an exhibit of the recent landscape paintings of Paul Batch beginning June 26.

The public is invited for a reception to meet the artist from 5 to 8 p.m. June 30, coinciding with the evening of the Wiscasset Art Walk. The exhibition continues through July 24. The gallery will also be displaying work from its regular roster of contemporary fine artists.

In his newest body of oil paintings, Batch captures those often transitory moments as seen in nature: the glance of the sun just as it breaks through the clouds, the sparkling effect of moonlight on water, the atmospheric mood of a breathtaking sunset, the power of waves striking a rocky prominence, and clouds catching the last rays of the sun low over the horizon. Batch explores those transitional moments in a heightened way, by capturing the effects of light in warm glowing transparent tones and opaque passages. The resulting images feel illuminated from within.

Batch finds that his paintings are more of a poetic response to nature rather than a photographic interpretation of it.

“I have spent a great deal of time observing and experiencing nature,” Batch says. “I do have a strong belief that we as humans have a spiritual connection to our planet. It’s that connection that I think influences most of my subject matter. I try to convey a sense of hope and peace in my paintings, because that’s what I am always longing for.”

“As Evening Falls” is one of his larger sunset paintings in the exhibition, at 24 by 30 inches. In this work, a central arrangement of trees dominates the landscape, their dark shapes are set effectively against the sky which comprises roughly three quarters of the painting. Rich, painterly brushstrokes of yellow and orange hues sweep across the horizon, and the warm golden transparent ephemeral rays of the sunset permeate throughout the work to create a feeling of warmth and unity.

“Majestic Sunset” is a marsh painting of particular note for the striking design of the composition and for the way Batch captures the drama of light and color as the sun is beginning to set. The essential elements of the painting — sky, clouds, marsh and water — are beautiful in form and shape. The gradations in the sky from blue violet at the zenith transitioning to yellow orange tones above the horizon is masterful, and there is a wonderful vibration as the transitioning colors intermingle. The deepening rich values of the marsh provide a perfect contrast to the brilliance and subtle brushwork of the clouds and sky. Batch keeps to the essential masses in the painting and makes them beautiful.

In “Distant Call,” “Seaside” and “Evening Ascent,” crashing waves and the granite rocks provide the perfect motif to explore how the water is a reflecting surface, and the sky is the unifying element of the paintings. In “Seaside,” the rose tones of the sky complement the turquoise-green of the water, and both hues are picked up in the exciting gestural brushwork of the crashing wave and sunlit foam. The foreground rocks are boldly painted with special attention to their angles and sharp edges. Batch again displays his understanding of how the light of the sky harmonizes all the elements of the painting.

Batch states that he often combines a variety of references to help him compose what he’s trying to convey.

“My references usually include photographs, sketches and plein-air studies,” he says. “For artistic inspiration, I look to the greats such as Winslow Homer, Rembrandt, George Inness and countless others. I love art and have my whole life. I’m extremely grateful that at 43 I’m able to do what I love every day and share that with others.”

Batch received his BFA and MFA from the Hartford Art School where he studied under the late great Stephen Brown. He is an award-winning member of Oil Painters of America and Portrait Society of America. His work has appeared in numerous publications including the Artist’s Magazine, Fine Art Connoisseur, and International Artist. Paul was selected as one of “Three to Watch” in the February 2021 issue of Fine Art Connoisseur. He resides in Massachusetts with his wife and their two children.

A selection of work by the gallery’s other contemporary fine artists will also be on display, including Peter Layne Arguimbau, Joann Ballinger, Al Barker, Angelo Franco Jr., Susannah Haney, Neal Hughes, Heather Gibson-Lusk, Stan Moeller, Robert Noreika, Crista Pisano, Ann Scanlan, Polly Seip, Laura Winslow and Shirley Cean Youngs. Work from the estate of the late artist Charles Kolnik will also be on view.

For more information, call Ann Scanlan at 882-8290, or go to www.sylvangallery.com. Also, find Sylvan Gallery on Instagram and Facebook. 

Sylvan Gallery is at 49 Water St., Wiscasset. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

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