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Jan Rastall: capstone




Rastall, Jan, artist

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The artist's statement: Climbing high mountains and walking thousands of miles on trails through-out my life has graced me with a deep appreciation for the natural world. I paint experiences I have had in the outdoors when time appeared to stand still. I use the landscape genre because of the affinity I feel with the natural world. The landscape offers unlimited aesthetic expression. Painting mountain vistas allows me to turn personal experiences into a visual narrative. My current body of work is focused on summit vistas from mountains over 14,000 feet in Colorado that I have climbed. I utilize composition, shape, line and color to give form to feelings of power, strength, awe, sanctity, insignificance, impermanence, and also vulnerability. Feelings that I have experienced when standing on a summit. In the studio, I reference photographs my climbing partner or I have taken. I deconstruct the photograph into an amalgam of abstract qualities found in the landscape. Focusing on the abstract in realism opens a door to the emotive qualities of the experience rather than on direct rendering of the landscape. My paintings of summit vistas are stories told through the eye. I use a simple palette of primary and secondary colors to explore the nuances of light found at high elevation. Mixing fresh color is inherent in my creative process. I practice en plein air to understand how light defines shapes and color in the natural world. I then translate that knowledge into my studio practice. I exploit the physicality of paint through intentional mark-making. I give paint a voice through colors and marks that dance across the canvas. I think of each stroke of color as a musical note in a key that composes the narrative. I chose my scale to achieve a compositional balance between cohesion and fragmentation. Viewed up close, the paintings are a construct of fissures and forms. From a distance, colors and shapes consolidate into ridges, slopes, valleys, and other natural features. I paint summit vistas to capture the imagination of anyone who has never climbed a mountain and to celebrate with those who have.


2017 Fall.
Colorado State University Art and Art History Department capstone project.
Capstone contains the artist's statement, a list of works, and images of works.

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oil paintings
Colorado 14ers
mountain summits


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