ARTIST ERIC SWEET
In a world of concrete jungles I can momentarily escape the madness into the wild and connect with nature. Animals for me have always been a safe haven—gentle spirits that are in tune to the spiritual frequency we all yearn for. When I look into the eyes of an animal, whether it’s a bird, squirrel, or elephant, I feel the universe, and know I am connected to something greater than I can comprehend. My relationship to the animal spirit is the driving force behind my work and my sole motivation.
My watercolor paintings are loose and spontaneous, painted with large washes and splatter, exaggerated color, and smooth gradations. My approach with watercolors is interpretive in nature. Put differently, these paintings take into consideration my interpretation of the animals spirit, not necessarily their true appearance. In the end, these paintings capture the animal spirit in a unique blend of realism and impressionism. For me, watercolor is the most exciting art medium. I believe it is the most misunderstood and most difficult medium to master. It requires patience, practice, technique, and a love of experimentation. One of the many reasons I love watercolor is because of the quick nature of the medium. Sometimes less is more, and is often the case with watercolors!
My black and white painting are created in a dry brush technique using black oil paint. These paintings are created on stiff bristol board with small detail brushes and are the most realistic paintings I create. With that, comes a deep appreciation for the form of each animal, and really allows for a deep connection.
Finally, a truly expressive approach is taken to create a one-of-a-kind oil on canvas. These works are highly saturated and painted in a thick impasto manner. Layers of paint, applied thinly to quite thick, make their home on the canvas. Unconstrained exaggerated colors combine to make a surreal and abstract rendition of the subject. My fingers, brushes, and palette knives combine to create an eclectic composition of texture and feeling. The result is lifelike, in that you are immediately aware of the subject, but possess an incredible abstract texture that takes the viewer into a world of imagination.
All of these paintings are created to celebrate the diversity of life and the pure souls they all possess. I love transitioning between these different approaches; it really makes me appreciate the animals in very different ways.
Special thanks to Caprichio the Tiger, as he lay calmly (anesthetized) as I play with his toes. A special perk, that I am deeply thankful for, while volunteering at the Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro, North Carolina. Learn more about the big cats at carolinatigerrescue.org.