Art student paints an experience

Cassie Smith

When it came to finding inspiration for his landscape painting final project, all Alec Coffee had to do was look out his window.

“I saw our neighbors’ silo, and I thought how cool would it be to climb up the silo and get a 360-degree view and paint from that,” Coffee, a recent fine arts Kent State graduate, said. “They did let me. I went up there and took pictures and that’s how it kind of developed.”

Coffee’s painting, “View From the Silo,” was displayed at a landscape exhibition from Tuesday, Aug. 28, to Friday, Aug. 31, in the sculpture gallery at the School of Art. Coffee painted the piece for landscape painting, a summer class.

“I wanted it to be an experience like being up on the silo, so once you step away from it, you can’t look back and experience it,” he said. “You have to be in the spot.”

“Alec progressed through this,” Charles Basham, professor of landscape painting, said. “He took the class last summer, that is Summer 2011. This summer he just sort of took off. The paintings began to develop into these brilliant, pop experiences that culminated in this final project that sort of fused three-dimensional and two-dimensional experience into one.”

Coffee said painting this piece taught him to take risks because they pay off.

For the final project, students were able to choose their topics and paint from photos. Coffee’s painting was just one of several others on display at the exhibition. Most of the paintings were the students’ final projects for the class.

Jeff Pasek, a fine arts graduate student, was looking through photos from a beach where he had vacationed. He saw two photos he thought made an interesting pair. From the photos, he painted two different spots from the same beach at different times of the day.

Pasek said he enjoyed working on the painting.

“I’m a grad student,” he said. “This is very different from the stuff I was doing in my studio last semester, so this was kind of a neat way to stretch my legs and try something different.”

Josh Mattes, senior fine arts major, was almost done with his landscape painting project when he went on a walk and found another location to paint.

“I ended up just taking a picture on my phone,” he said about his second location. “I thought it was a really good composition, so then I sketched it out first and then went to the location again to paint it and get the colors while I was there. I didn’t totally work from a photograph.”

Contact Cassie Smith at [email protected].