I search for beauty in the natural world and in everyday things. I work primarily in oil, from life and from my photographs. I love to see how light transforms objects and places, and to capture that transformation in paint.
Eleanor Blair graduated from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City in 1969. She moved to Gainesville in 1971 and has been painting Central Florida scenes since that time. She is a well-known member of the art community in Gainesville; exhibiting her work in local art festivals, performing on stage with the Gainesville Chamber Orchestra and working in her studio/gallery downtown.
Blair paints in oil on canvas. Her work combines visual accuracy with painterly brush work and rich color. Florida landscape is her primary subject, but her portraits, still life, interiors and architectural studies demonstrate her fine draftsmanship and sense of light.
An essay about her philosophy and process:
“We have all had those moments; a fleeting trick of light, a sentimental subject, a random combination of shapes and shadows, and we are transported, in the presence of beauty. It might be a glimpse of something seen in the rearview mirror silhouetted against the cloudy sky ahead, or the glow of unexpected color through a backlit object, or an arrangement of empty glasses and bottles and silverware strewn across the table after a pleasant dinner party. It could be dishes in the sink, or your feet popping up through the suds at the opposite end of the tub. Moments when you say, “Oh I wish I was a painter, so I could paint that!” Those moments, intimate and universal, that remind us that there is beauty in the world, all around us, and everywhere.
I just painted from life in my early years as an artist. When I was thirty, I began using the camera to make the world hold still, so I could take my time and focus. Now, I still paint and draw from life. I enjoy the immediacy of that. But most of my paintings are the result of conscious design. I use the camera and the computer to give me more control over my reference material, and work on my paintings longer. I apply layers of opaque and transparent oils, over stretched canvas that has been primed with toned gesso. I begin the painting with a value study using warm and cool pigments mixed to a dark transparent neutral. When that’s dry, I add transparent washes of brighter colors, and paint light opaque paint into that. Later, I redefine the dark areas with dense mixtures of blue and red and green. I may paint as many as six layers, over a period of a few weeks, before a painting is done, although frequently I manage to finish a piece very quickly.
Landscape is my primary subject, because of its universal appeal, and because I like having an excuse to spend time outdoors in beautiful places around the world. But inspiration comes to me randomly and unexpectedly, in my day-to-day life. Then I’m glad I’m a painter, so I can paint that.”