If I see something dramatic which affects me emotionally, I want to share it with others and have them see and feel the same. I think it may have been Hopper who said, “If I could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint.” To have someone else share in the emotional intensity of my painting is a very personal and rewarding experience, much like sitting down and breaking bread together.
Capturing the drama with light and shadow is what takes my breath away and fuels my passion to create. My inspiration, whether in painting, sculpture, or gilding, has come from studying and admiring the works of Winslow Homer, Charles Prendergast, Stanford White, Childe Hassam, Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth, Stephen Scott Young, and my father, Hubert Shuptrine.
I started out with watercolor as a toddler where I would sit for hours and watch my father, create. The path of his hand as he dipped the brush into water, the tapping of the metal ferrule against the glass, and the ringing that lingered in the air while he applied the watery pigment—it was a rhythm that mesmerized me. When he would mess one up and toss it in the trash, I would fish it out, sit in the floor with one of his old brushes, and “fix” it. This was my apprenticeship.
Despite that watercolor is considered by many artists as the most difficult of mediums, it’s what I feel most comfortable with and I suppose you could say it’s in my blood. It effortlessly extends into my carved and gilded frames as well. And though I experiment occasionally with other mediums, to reboot my mind, I always return to watercolor like coming home.
When I am quietly creating in my studio, I often hear my dad’s words of wisdom: “You must see and create beyond the surface level—art should evoke emotion.” I find that painting is a spiritual experience. It takes a tremendous amount of courage for an artist to create what is deep within the heart and soul, and to be vulnerable. I find myself thanking God for my blessings and pulling encouragement from Him to press onward, and upwards.
The Shuptrines Gallery and Gold Leaf Design Studio is located in Chattanooga, TN. Please address mail to PO Box 144 Lookout Mountain, TN 37350.
Phone: (423) 266-4453