Daniel van Benthuysen
Huntington, NY

That’s Renee, my wife in the chair reading while I’m setting up my portable paint box. The empty seats next to her seemed to accentuate her solitude, or my absence. All of my work touches on or features varying degrees of isolation. In my last hundred paintings or so only three human figures have made an appearance. And while nobody would seriously consider this a portrait, everyone who knows Renee has recognized the way she holds herself here. We were on Shelter Island for a weekend and we went outside together, I to paint, and she to read.
Artists get used to working alone like this, even if in the presence of others. The solitude seems to sharpen one’s focus. But this doesn’t mean we’re “loners” or anti-social. On the contrary, at some point I need Zoom, or FaceTime, or Google Hangouts to rejoin friends and family. I can only spend so many hours priming canvases and cleaning brushes. How clean do these brushes have to be anyway?

- Daniel
Afternoon Reading, Oil on Canvas