Simpson Gallagher Gallery

September Twilight

by Dave Ballew
10 x 12  inches , $2000

Dave Ballew

Dave Ballew

For David Ballew, art is a constant search and a healthy appreciation for the mysterious, says art critic Gussie Fauntleroy (Focus 1998). Known for his striking and intimate paintings, Ballew is equally intrigued by the process of creating as he is of the product. While his landscapes attest to a level of mastery beyond what he may acknowledge, Ballew constantly refines his skills through disciplined dedication, generally spending six days a week at the easel. For small paintings he works plein air, aiming for the vitality and authenticity that comes with being on location. On larger pieces he works in the studio, but quickly. Otherwise the clear energy of the initial gesture gets bogged down in the reworking of details. Ballew spends as much time as possible with artists whose work he greatly admires, including Irby Brown, George Carlson, Michael Lynch, Mark Daily, and Ned Jacob. One of the most important things one can learn from other artists, Ballew believes, is not a formula for putting down paint, but a way of seeing. His goal is a deeper, clearer vision. Ballew's appreciation for the mysterious-as well as a strong love of nature-can be traced back to his boyhood fishing trips with his father on the streams and rivers of the Midwest and east coast. One outing in particular made a lasting impression. As dusk gathered, his father cast a fly rod into a deep pool in a small stream. The rod suddenly bent double, and the fisherman handed it to his son, telling him that the fish was likely to get away. Before it did, however, he wanted the boy to see what it felt like to have big fish like that on the line. "My dad said, 'There's something remarkable lurking down there. You can't grab it and take it home, but you can play with it for awhile,'" he recalls. "That's what I'd like to be doing for the rest of my life-playing with the mystery. And I'm hopeful, if I approach it with respect, painting will allow me to do that."

Like us on FaceBook