- Just In
- Fine Art
- Chester County, PA | Maui, HI | Grand Canyon, AZ
- Impressionst, Plein Air
There are dark clouds rolling across a turbulent sky rising above the Brandywine valley. In this "Valley of Clouds" where sky and earth meet in an atmospheric dance of fog, sunlight and darkness you find Richard Chalfant at his easel. This is his painting ground, Walamink, a Lenape name meaning "place of paint". Here is where he paints lush painterly oil landscapes plein-air of the Chester County countryside. Although not all of his paintings are landscapes, many are and all reflect his interest in composition, strong shapes and color effects created by the local climate conditions.
A native of Chester County, Richard has spent his life studying the landscape and history of his homeland. His paintings are now becoming a record of a world soon to be lost due to the relentless suburbanization of the region. Largely because of its beauty the Brandywine Valley has attracted and produced an important number of painters over several hundred years. Richard is part of a family tradition of native artists which included Jefferson David Chalfant, George Cope, and Howard Pyle."
When you grow up in this area, it is impossible to escape the influence of the important earlier painters such as Thomas Eakins and, of course, the Brandywine school and the Wyeth family in particular. My strongest influence, though, is nature itself". Richard attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where he received many awards, as well as the Barnes Foundation in Merion. His work is in several local museums and private collections.
Richard Chalfant paints in many sizes, from very large to miniature. The paintings represent a sense of place and time. Dusk with rising mists in deep indigo evoke a mystery, a time of dramatic change and peace. "There is certainly a contemplative aspect to viewing the paintings but also the creation as well" says Chalfant. "Only when the mind is still and all focus is on the moment can a great painting happen. Sometimes I just watch a painting take shape, where the brush seems to work independently of me. That is when I know it will be great. I work in unison with nature to create an image, a message of that place, that moment in time. I can never say what I will come back with. When I go out and paint wait for the moment, then I work. Some days I can walk for hours looking, searching, but finding nothing. Other days I go out and paint within the first fifteen minutes."
Painting at certain times of the day in different light conditions creates many moods. Many of Chalfant's paintings, most notably his nocturnes, really come alive when viewed in the same light as the time of day in which they were painted. "People tell me how exciting it is for them to watch the paintings are to be viewed head on - there is no secret agenda or masked intent." Richard Chalfant strives to attain the goal of the phrase: In simplicity is the greatest beauty.