Nature from the Inside Out

Michael Croman

February 3, 2022–March 27, 2022
Thursday–Monday 12–5pm
Jeanette Best Gallery
701 Water Street, Port Townsend, Washington

Michael Croman has created a wealth of abstract, action paintings of unique landscapes. After traveling around the US, geographic features began to appear on his canvases, coming together to create new environments and worlds similar to ours. His distinctive technique of using turpentine and cloth to create natural fractal patterns makes it possible for him to capture, in his own words, “the natural environments from the inside out,” fusing land with sky.

Artist Statement

Michael Croman

I have been painting since graduating from Southern Connecticut State University in 1961. An abstract painter, influenced by my training in the 1960s, I have progressed through several major styles and subjects. From 1989 to 2000, I concentrated on large, abstract skyscapes, the clouds dramatically portrayed in strong colors. In February 2001, I retired from regular employment to devote full time to painting. My painting focus shifted to landscape and I adopted a more realistic approach to my subjects – rocks, mountains, rivers, valleys, forests, marshes, and the sea.  

As my work progressed, I became more and more experimental, allowing my oil paints and turpentine to become more active in the painting process. The interaction of the materials with the canvas, my use of cloths as well as brushes, and the free flow of the medium enable me to meet a long-standing artistic goal – to paint the natural environment “from the inside out.” I seek to capture what at first sight appears to be random, fractal patterns in nature and arrange them to become better appreciated as highly organized design elements. In the final result, I aim to capture the spirit of the place rather than make a visual record of any particular place I have seen and experienced and later recall from memory.

I also take pleasure in seeing and painting sky, land, and water in ways that show their interchangeable qualities. The shapes and forms of clouds are often the same as the topography of land or the surface of the sea. Color, light, atmosphere, linear outlines, texture and rhythms enhance our recognition of the similarities and overlap between these three major, life-sustaining elements of our environment. I have shown my work in galleries and exhibitions from New York to Olympia, Washington, where I have lived for the past 25 years. My work is represented in over 150 private collections throughout the United States and abroad.