Birds in Art • Florida Birds • Avian Art • Paintings of Nature and Wildlife
Wildlife Art • Nature Art • Biblical Painting • Wildlife Painting • Dan Graffeo Artist
Nature Painting • Animal Paintings • Portrait Painting • Realistic Painting

About the artist

Dan Graffeo

"I strive to capture the essence and presence of life, that spark which animates matter, on a two dimensional plane so that others may experience a living reality inside my paintings."

"I invite you to come with me to explore nature through my eyes and mind and heart..."

"With my subject still in view, if I am lucky - some critters move very quickly, or at least still fresh in my mind's eye, I begin to record the impressions in quick, rough sketches. I also make notes which help me to remember the fine details - the color of the feathers, the feel of the wind, the light of the day - anything that can bring me back to that exact moment and that exact place in space and time. In this way I can re-live the moment and is associated emotions again later when I am in the studio working on the painting, which can sometimes be years after the fact.

"Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Dan grew up in rural Cajun country. Nature was always close at hand. Early in life, Dan lived in Europe, traveling and exploring the history of western art. He never imagined at that time that he would someday take up the brush to create his own works. Dan's interest in art has always been keen and his love of nature a passion. Combining these two elements formed a natural complement and set a new path for his life...
Celebrating Nature's Truth and Beauty in Paintings."

Vision :::

Being an artist is not something I do is something I am

I paint what I have experienced in my head and in my heart. It is my privilege to capture the essence and presence, the truth and beauty of nature and to share with others what I have experienced. Too few people have the opportunity to be in wild places and experience nature - too many have lost touch with nature altogether - I hope to bring some part of nature to these people - to share these experiences. This is a tradition which goes back to ancient cave paintings.
I am called by wilderness and wild life - by the majesty of nature - my objective is to bring to others the beauty and truth I find there...
Although beauty can be found in the human form, in man-made objects, my eye is captivated by the beauty of birds, fish, turtles and mammals... from aardvarks to zebras and everything in-between... mountains and valleys, wetlands and deserts... wherever life succeeds.

Working Methods :::

As I explore nature, from the far reaches of the Everglades to the misty Rocky mountain tops, to my own back yard, I open my eyes and mind and heart. I always try to go beyond the surface to capture the essence of what I experience. My journal becomes a time machine - allowing me to record my experiences so that I can later go back in time and re-experience in order to re-create in my paintings all that I have seen and felt. In my studio, I gather all my reference materials - field sketches, journal writings, photographs, videos and actual pieces of habitat and I begin to work out composition and story for the painting. Just as I am transported back in time - I hope to transport the viewer of my paintings back to that moment when I experienced the subject of the painting. I always begin with the drawing to work out all the details and composition. Once the drawing is complete, I transfer to the painting surface and begin to re-create the life and truth and beauty which inspired me in the first place. The actual painting is the culmination of all the steps before and is the magic time when a flat surface comes alive!"

Materials & Techniques :::

"I use traditional materials and techniques - except when I break a few "rules" - oil paint on linen or canvas,acrylic paint on canvas or archival hardboard panel, watercolor on D'Arches paper and...Here's where the rules get bent a little...Using a combination of opaque and transparent watercolor on archival cotton Ph neutral illustration board or archival hardboard panel, I finishthe painting with multiple coatings of specially prepared layers of isolation layers and varnishes, using a technique I developed over a period of years, which give the finished paintings the look and feel of oil paintings.I call this medium - WATERMADIA. These paintings can be framedwithout glass - in traditional oil painting frames with perfect safety! I use only archival paints, substrates and framing materials."

Exhibitions :::

"I made my public debut in 1996 at the LEIGH YAWKEY WOODSON ART MUSEUM in Wausau, Wisconsin in that years BIRDS IN ART exhibition.Each year over 20,000 collectors, connoisseurs, ornithologists, environmentalists, dedicated bird watchers, art lovers and artists come from all over the world to view and participate in the event at the preeminent museum dedicated to avian art in the world. In 1997, "Mute Swan" was selected by the museum for its year long touring exhibit. The painting was selected for purchase by the museum for their permanent collection. I have exhibited a numerous art shows, competitions, and festivals around the country, from Florida to Minnesota, from California to Washington, D.C."

Studies :::

"I have had the good fortune to have studied with some of the finest artists in the world :
Terry Isaac, John Seerey-Lester, Guy Coheleach, Carl Brenders, Richard Sloan and Rod Frederick.
I have spent thousands of hours practicing and integrating what I have learned. Add to this, thousands of trips, over a period of decades, to visit and explore national parks and wildlife refuges and wilderness areas - from the Everglades to Yosemite, From the coast of Maine to California and countless places in-between - I am drawn to wild places. I take every opportunity to visit zoological parks, rehabilitation centers and private game preserves to experience first hand the many exotic species rarely seen in the wild."



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