"The more I paint, the more I am absorbed with the concept of composition and the methods in which to achieve the best representation. To determine the perfect composition is to be able to recreate the sensation of a subject, this may impact the emotions or just stimulate the pleasure of observation." Ken Strong
Ken Strong was born in Brisbane in 1960 and is currently living in rural NSW. He has been painting in oils for over 35 years and has a strong art following nationally and internationally! He has participated in over 45 exhibitions including 28 solo.
Whilst the Australian landscape has been his focus, this has extending to painting excursions and study trips followed by exhibitions inspired from Europe and the USA.
His works are characterised by a bold application of paint, but also using a subtle approach to subject development in many cases. Paintings tend to be of an impressionist style with compositions ranging from panoramic landscape to more intimate images combining the influence of man and his surroundings. Works often have a non representational feel with the key compositional element being a well structured use of colour and movement.
The more I paint, the more I am absorbed with the concept of composition and the methods in which to achieve the best representation. To determine the perfect composition is to be able to recreate the sensation of a subject, this may impact the emotions or just stimulate the pleasure of observation.
I had a recent discussion with an artist friend who creates amongst other things, small spontaneous paintings, quite abstractive and using approaches I would never consider but the result of these compositions which constitute a medium, an image and a story, produced a comprehensive and fascinating result. The principal of this has reinforced to me that composition of artwork is more than producing a display, it must include all key ingredients to help create a broader interpretation of what is being described in this display.
I would love to paint portraits, for the emotional variation expressed in the face provides an endless source of expression, but I can’t escape the attraction to the landscape. The challenge of composing an animated expressive work based on physical surroundings is too great to ignore. The landscape can be incredibly powerful, Turner demonstrates this and other great painters, “composers” similarly follow. For me it is a continuing and seemingly unreachable goal to create my perfect composition. But I suppose, what is perfection? What appeals to me one day will aggravate me the next. Is there never satisfaction?
As with most artists, I continue to search – will I ever reach the goal of ultimate satisfaction? I doubt it, for the winding path is a maze with a myriad of dead ends, but I would not change the journey for anything.
Maintaining an impressionistic approach provides the opportunity to retain a clear subject but also introduce subtle suggestions of detail within the composition. This may be achieved using a number of techniques including variations in pigment, or use of shadow and contrast to produce and effect within the work. The suggestion of detail will provide the opportunity to discover effects and area of interest within the work. The "hidden" detail which may not be readily obvious is contained within the shadows and overlaid pigment.
Maintaining movement within the work will also assist in keeping a composition alive.
All these elements help create life within the composition, Shape, form balance, colour, tone, movement are all essential ingredients. There is never one solution. A work may come to life through a combination of techniques and the effects will mutate as the composition develops. This is one element of painting that helps maintain the fascination for art, it is rare to envisage the final result until the work is complete.
Ken Strong has been painting Australian landscapes for over 20 years and is developing increased recognition both nationally and internationally for his work. His works are characterised by a bold application of paint, but also using a subtle approach to subject development in many cases.
Works tend to be an impressionist style with subjects ranging from panoramic landscape to more intimate images combining the influence of man and his surroundings. Works often have a non representational feel with the key compositional element being a well structured use of colour an movement.
Exhibitions have been the primary outlet for his works since the first solo exhibition in 1988 in Kendall, NSW, Australia. A legacy of these exhibitions has been a significant number of commissions through private galleries. A continuous presence of work is maintained in a number of galleries. International exposure in recent years has proven extremely successful with promotional work continuing in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Ken has always had an exploratory attitude towards his approach towards composition. His focus in recent years has been on the exploration of more flexible use of the mediums, often involving a looser approach to reinforce the overall atmosphere generated in a composition and the emphasis in the integration of the subject into the overall composition.
Works are currently held in numerous private and corporate collections in Australia, The United States of America and Canada following exhibitions held in these locations over the past 28 years. Further commissions have resulted from these exhibitions.
A substantial quantity of works completed on subjects from locations in the United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Italy, have been featured in exhibitions in Australia and overseas. As well as Australian subjects there has been a particular focus on Cornwall, Northern Scotland, Amsterdam, Tuscany and Venice which have been featured in these exhibitions.
A series of works based on American institutions including the Whitehouse, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson memorial, the Washington Monument are currently hanging in major corporate institutions in Washington DC.
Active exhibitor since 1988, totaling 45 solo and group exhibitions in several states of Australia and overseas.
A major exhibition at CHG in 2017 planned.
Education has been an interesting combination of formal qualifications in Civil Engineering, intercepted with less formal qualifications in the art world gained through collaboration with fellow painters, workshops and experimentation with subjects and mediums and a general exploration into the less "logical" world of art. Education in art always continues. There is never an end to what can be gained through observation and experimentation and in some instances, courage.
Commenced dual careers in 1978 including Art studies in composition, mediums and art history; and Civil Engineering which included specialist training in architectural drafting and technical presentation.
1983 Formal qualifications in Civil Engineering degree through the NSW University of Technology
Contributions to Australian Artist and International Artist magazine over the last 12 years including the following articles
July 1992 Australian Artist – Use Colour to Enhance Your Composition
September 1994 Australian Artist - Water Can Be Any Colour You Like
September 1997 Australian Artist – Let Yourself Go With Oils
December 1998 International Artist Magazine - Australian Showcase
November 1999 Australian Artist – Building Character With Lashings of Colour
December 1999 Australian Artist – Building Character With Lashings of Colour (Part 2)
October 2000 International Artist – Open Interpretation
March 2002 Dramatising Scenes Using Water
Feb 2004 Artists Palette Magazine - No 29 The Wonders of Water
June 2004 International Artist
August 2006 Australian Artist
April 2008 Australian Artist
Case Study: Recently an interstate enquiry (Canberra) resulted in the commissioning of an earlier composition titled ‘Cooler pastures’ Oil on canvas measuring 45 x 35 cms – see photo. After some communication with the client they requested a larger format painting 90 x 60 cms. See photo.
The outcome was pleasing for the artist to produce and exceeded the clients expectation! (A testimonial is available upon request).
CHG has a proven formula for commissioning an artist to provide a 2d or 3d artwork!
Please enquire should you be interested to know how this process is simplified and rewarding?