One of America’s accomplished realist painters reminds us all that successful paintings begin with the simplest of forms: shapes.
“It all begins with shapes,” says artist Louis Escobedo, “To me a successful painting is all about shapes and harmony.”  These simple elements of art are undeniably an integral part of Escobedo’s process, a method which is highlighted during his solo exhibition at 717 Gallery in Easton, Maryland.  For the artist, a painting begins with the contours of simple, broad shapes imparted onto the blank canvas.  Only after these large, roughed areas are defined does Escobedo add color and details, blending the edges of those shapes into finished paintings.  He suggests, “I prefer to reach for scenes that convey a sense of synchronization.  I strive to make paintings that excel with dramatic lighting and tremendous depth, looking beyond the physical makeup of the subject.” 

Louis Escobedo, “San Diego Shore,” oil, 16 x 20 in. (c) 717 Gallery 2015

“San Diego Shore” is a representational example of Escobedo’s aesthetic vision.  Broad areas of illuminated rock projects define the foreground and middle-ground of the painting.  A rhythmic play of blues, pinks and greens compose a thrashing and violent surf, which separates the two rocky forms.  There is a quite simplicity to both the scene and the details, but Escobedo has successfully achieved a depth and viewer participation that is truly gripping.  “A highly detailed painting that lacks feeling can leave me cold,” he confesses, “I’d rather finish the painting at the earliest point, as soon as the essence becomes evident – at the exact place where a shape becomes an object.” 

Louis Escobedo, “The Canyon,” oil, 18 x 24 in. (c) 717 Gallery 2015

“Hidden Stream” illustrates this philosophy well.  Scattered about the entire work is an arrangement of river stones of all types of size and variation.  Using only broad, simple strokes, the stones have little detail beyond their initial shapes.  The same could be said for the foliage and stream as it cascades down a slope towards the viewer.  Despite its minimalism, the shapes and overall integrity of the scene remains intact with all its subjective narrative and emotion accompanied with it. 
“Shapes and Harmony” opened on September 4 and will hang through October 31.
To learn more, visit 717 Gallery.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

Previous articleBones with Flesh
Next articleAcute Observations
Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here