Born: Chicago, Illinois
Howard Burgdorf Watercolors
“A pleasure shared is a pleasure doubled”
One of the reasons I paint is to share something pleasing to me. Perhaps it is the scene, or combination of shapes. Perhaps it's the way the light falls or the color. Perhaps it's the subject matter, a particular place or moment. I try to capture that on paper. I try to do it directly, without a lot of tricks, using clean fresh colors to capture the moment. Too much we are confronted with the sordid, the ugly the distasteful, the depressing. I would rather not produce more of that.
As much as possible I like to paint on the spot, sitting on a curbstone or a rock or log. Obviously this presents hazards like bugs and wind and sun, heat or cold. Sometimes its children. Once a little girl stepped into my water tray. She went home with a wet shoe and sock.
I feel that I can relate to the subject matter much more when I am at the spot. Colors and space seem so much more alive and interesting compared to a photograph. Some things I do paint in my studio and might use a photo I have taken for reference or I might refer to my sketchbook. But most fun comes for me when I am able to spread out on the ground and enjoy what is before me.
When I travel to a foreign country I do take a picture but I hate to point a camera in the face of a native to snap a picture. But when I am sitting on the curb drawing or painting I am more acceptable, more like one of them. They look over my shoulder and even though we don't understand each other, they accept me. I'm not an ugly American tourist. In fact once in Mexico, I was sitting on the curb sketching when a women shop keeper down the street brought me a piece of cardboard to sit on. We didn't understand each others words but her actions said it all.
If these paintings share a time or place or moment with you, if they give a little pleasure to your eye, a bit of enjoyment, if they resonate with your soul, then I feel that I have been well rewarded.