Genesis

On a slow sunny summer Saturday, sitting on my front stoop, I was suddenly inspired to do something about my peculiar vision and the repeated remarks, “You see things differently.” I went to the bank, took out my whole life savings of $125.00, and bought my first camera, albeit used. I found an intensive course that promised to teach me in six weeks all that I would need to know about photography. I promptly proceeded to ruin my first two rolls of film. Disappointed but undaunted, I nevertheless decided to stay the course. My passion had been kindled!

I next attended two highly reputable art schools where I received formal training. In this environment my ideas began to take shape. Now involved with the visual as art, my efforts became significantly channeled through the medium of photography. Why photography instead of, say, painting? The answer became clear through my undergraduate immersion in a variety of art courses, a typical requirement in art schools. It is within the introductory context of conventional media and techniques that I discovered the simple reality that things technical, such as photography, come most easily to me.

Academic life fueled an exciting and passionate time of creating art and ushered me into the exhibition circuit. Eventually my work was being shown at such galleries as Friends of Photography and the Denver Art Museum, both of which have international reputations. Additionally I had opportunities for one-person shows and I was invited by the Blue Too Gallery in Denver, Colorado to be among the artists that they represented.

Transitions

After moving to New Hampshire with my wife who was originally from the east coast, my career path began to shift. I ran a commercial photography studio for three to four years doing primarily fashion and aerial photography. This experience helped to bring some clarity to my journey as an artist. I realized I was not interested in commercial photography as a means to express what was important to me. Moreover, I was frustrated with the fact that I had an increasing store of ideas but no way to execute them through traditional photographic means. It was 1991 and I was stuck. Synchronous with my growing dilemma, however, a new medium was emerging. Amazingly, it was a technically challenging medium that, once again, came easily to me. And I knew from the beginning that it could allow me to give expression to the ideas I now wanted to explore. It’s name:  Digital Imaging.  I was among the first generation of artists to embrace digital technology. Initially, in spite of immersing myself, I felt as if I couldn’t accumulate enough experience with it, and certainly I couldn’t accumulate it fast enough. The learning curve was somewhat steep, but I was like a rocket ship, and once again I was excited about creating art!

Mixed Media

My early photographic work was devoted to the richness of a black and white aesthetic, something that readily lends itself to exploring the visual elements of line, shape, and space. Eventually I shifted to an exploration of color, which added intensity to the work. To this day I love using bright, strong hues, but not through photography per se. If it slowly dawned on me that using a traditional photographic approach was no longer right for me, it is because not even color photography could do justice to a new desire for painterly expressions of my inner vision about line, shape, space, and, yes, color. I sold and/or gave away my studio lighting equipment and darkroom apparatus, replacing them with computer hardware and software. And I never looked back. The digital medium had broken things open for me. This was particularly true because of a software program called Fractal Painter which, cleverly packaged in a standard utilitarian paint can, enables the digital artist to “paint” in a virtual environment.

In my current mixed media images I combine photographs of objects from reality with expressions of my inner vision through painted pixels and prismacolor pencils.

Ronnie McClure
Canterbury  NH