By Andrew Haley.
Art has magic and power in it. For me, painting and drawing are ways to discover the nature of things, and particularly the nature of places that are important to me,” Thomas Spande says.
The artist’s connection to the Piedmont was established early in his life. Born in 1972, he grew up in Maryland, but spent weekends at the family’s rustic house on a backroad in the foothills of the Blue Ridge in Rappahannock County. “Once you get past the sprawl and into the countryside—the peace and the community, the way people are—I get a real sense of belonging here.”
After time in Maine and Baltimore, reconnecting with the Virginia Piedmont landscape, Spande developed both abstract and realist works centered on the local rivers, towns, and seasons. “In my painting, I try to allude to the potential of a place, the world as dreamed or perhaps the world as it might be. I observe landscapes and other subjects with a good eye, but also to see the meaning, or potential: to say what I feel about the landscape, and other things I paint, somehow, by putting that perception into the work. I’m not happy with a painting until I see that feeling in the work. If I paint a river in the Blue Ridge, what you’ll see is rocks and water, but I hope you’ll feel or understand something more.”
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