American Art Collector - - Contents - ROD­NEY HAT­FIELD

Let your eyes ex­plore one of Rod­ney Hat­field’s paint­ings for a few mo­ments and you will no­tice there is some­thing emerg­ing from be­neath the fi­nal layer of paint. Each work builds from the ini­tial un­der­paint­ing to some­times nu­mer­ous re­vi­sions, with these pre­vi­ous it­er­a­tions bleed­ing through into the fin­ished piece. This artis­tic el­e­ment, called pen­ti­mento, is a sig­na­ture of Hat­field’s, al­low­ing the viewer to ap­pre­ci­ate not only the fi­nal com­po­si­tion but also how he ar­rived there.

“Some­times whole paint­ings that I’ve lived with for a while and de­cided I didn’t like, I’ll paint over,” Hat­field elab­o­rates. “But, in do­ing so, I will leave other parts of the orig­i­nal sur­face show­ing through. They will be­come, then, a part of the new paint­ing.”

For as long as Hat­field has been an artist, there has been this evo­lu­tion in his work. He thought even­tu­ally he would get to a point where he could sit down and fin­ish a piece in one ses­sion, but has since found re­solve in his artis­tic jour­ney. “I’ve made peace with the fact that this is my process. I’m OK with that,” Hat­field says. “It’s kind of the idea of let­ting the paint­ing lead

me. The more I try to en­force my­self on an idea for a paint­ing, the worse it gets. The more I can let go and sort of let the can­vas be a part­ner in the paint­ing and every­thing, the bet­ter I do.”

Hat­field also al­lows him­self the free­dom to ex­plore us­ing a va­ri­ety of tools, with the tra­di­tional paint­brush be­ing the one he uses the least. “I like the idea of us­ing these other things be­cause they’re even less pre­cise— rollers, sticks, pal­ette knives, sponges, rags, just about any­thing,” the artist says. “The brush makes you want to ex­ert con­trol, at least for me. I like the pri­mal ap­proach to it, and us­ing these crazy tools to paint helps.”

This July 20 to Au­gust 9, Hat­field will present a new se­ries of works at Selby Fleet­wood Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mex­ico. The show, aptly ti­tled Pen­ti­mento, will in­clude col­or­ful works that show off his well-honed tech­niques.

Mr. Horn­blower, for in­stance, was done 90 per­cent with pal­ette knife and de­vel­oped as the work came to­gether. In an­other paint­ing, Or­a­cle, Hat­field pri­mar­ily used a roller and a lim­ited color pal­ette to ar­rive at the ghostly look­ing piece. He shares, “I wanted to see how many vari­a­tions on a color that I could get. I used black, yel­low and white.” For Song­bird, the idea was to paint a bird, but the avian crea­ture he started with was much dif­fer­ent from the one that ap­pears in the fin­ished piece.

Selby Fleet­wood Gallery 600 Canyon Road • Santa Fe, NM 87501 • (505) 992-8877 • www.sel­byfleet­



Mr. Horn­blower, oil on can­vas, 40 x 40"


Or­a­cle, acrylic on can­vas, 36 x 36"


Rod­ney Hat­field in his stu­dio.


Song­bird, oil on can­vas, 36 x 36"


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