Joe Kazimierczyk was inspired to paint "Rainbow Hill Farm Winter" after a snowfall brought to mind a stretch of road he had always enjoyed.
By: Janet Purcell
WHERE: The Gallery at Verdi, 448 Route 27, Kingston
WHEN: Through March 30, 2011 Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday.
While some landscape painters travel far and wide to capture a certain terrain, a specific quality of light, Joe Kazimierczyk prefers to explore his world, “always nearby,” he says.
|"Kingston Mill" depicts a scene close to the Gallery at Verde, where Kazimierczyk's work is on display.|
A broad selection of his nearby scenes is on display in The Gallery at Verde, complete with his notations that tell you exactly where they are.
“People from out of state have an idea of New Jersey and Joe shows us the scenes that are totally different from that. He portrays a New Jersey many people don’t know about or appreciate,” says gallery co-owner, Tasha O’Neill,
Visit the exhibit and you’ll see close-up views of some scenes you may drive past without even noticing their beauty. And you’ll see hidden places where only a towpath can lead you.
Joe Kaz (as he is known to his friends and followers) has only recently become a full-time painter. Previously he worked in the information technology industry and painted when time would allow. “Now I am able to focus on painting and it’s been wonderful to do that,” he says.
Primarily a plein-air painter, he seeks out locations while riding his bike (but not in the snow, he says) and always looking for a vista that attracts his eye while driving along back roads near his home in Neshanic Station.
“When I’m just looking out my window at home or driving along the roads or bicycling, my mind is always thinking about painting even though I don’t have my brushes in my hand,” he says.
He talks about “Rainbow Run Farm,” one of the paintings in the exhibit. “I’ve always liked that stretch of road and right after a nice snowfall just before Christmas two years ago, I was sitting at home and it almost came out of the blue. It was almost sunset and I drove over there and took a bunch of pictures,” The result is a broad expanse of snowy field lying under the shadow of a lowering sky. Off in the distance are small red barns and white silos. “The simplest part of the painting should have been that foreground (of snow), but I scraped it off and repainted it so many times trying to get that particular blue,” he says. There are so many blues in that painting, the sky is a different hue (from the snow shadows), the clouds are purplish blue and, except for a strip of browns and reds, it’s a study in blue.” It is also a painting that captures the cold that settles in late afternoon after a snowfall, a kind of frozen silence.
Every season is represented in the exhibit, however. There’s “Autumn Gold” in which “Kaz” says he pushed the yellow and gold he found in the trees and leaves leaning over a winding creek in the Sourlands. “It’s an example of how I’ve begun to put my imagination into my paintings,” he says. “I saturated it with that warm glow.”
“I’m relying more on my imagination than seeing what’s in front of me. I still observe carefully, but I’m taking some liberties with color and lighting,” he says. “I’ve learned sometimes you have to really distort and exaggerate to bring realism. Your canvas or paper is two-dimensional and to convey the feeling of a three-dimension scene I’ve learned I have to put down what I think is needed to capture that sense of realism.”
Kazimierczyk’s painting style can best be described as painterly realism as opposed to photo realism. His edges are not sharply defined, details are more often suggested rather than distinctly painted. When I reviewed his work in 2007 I wrote, “…using color and a keen sense of light and shadow, he offers a view very much like one would get while bicycling slowly past—realistic, but softened.” Although his colors are somewhat more vivid now, he still offers that same view.
His “On Rosemont-Raven Rock Road,” for example, it’s easy to imagine you’re riding your bike or driving slowly out of shadows into the light falling gently on a house and small outbuildings that stand on the curve of the road.
And in “West Trenton Line” (looking toward Lower Ferry Road in Ewing) it’s as if you’re walking along looking up at boxcars going over an old overpass and then glancing down into the reflections in the water of the canal.
Visit this exhibit and “Kaz” will take you from the Locktender’s house on the canal in Kingston (just steps from the gallery where his works are on display) to the Updike Barns on Quaker Road, to Mercer Park Northwest, the towpath at Griggstown, and to a picturesque Opie Road winding under a beautifully cloud-filled sky near Neshanic Station.
“One thing that keeps attracting me to painting outdoors is it’s a way of my exploring the world, finding new places—always nearby. Maybe someday I’ll pick up my paints and go to Maine or someplace, but there’s too much here I want to explore first,” he says.
“The reason he is so special apart from other landscape painters is he captures a sense of place, where we live, in a very clear and poetic way,” says Joanna Tully, co-owner of the gallery. “When we pass by these places we look at them in a certain way now and appreciate the subtle beauty of our location, of where we are.”
Joe Kazimierczyk has won many prestigious awards, including a Best in Show in the Ellarslie Open XXIV. His paintings can be found in collections of the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission and the New jersey Department of Human Services.