The work of Brandon Gonzales—a painter now in the final semester of the MFA program at Laguna College of Art + Design—has been evolving quickly in the past year. Working on location, Gonzales has been developing a very personal and elegant plein air style that highlights his sensitivity to the passage of time. Starting with a place that catches his eye, he locates something—a sense of light or texture—that he can latch onto and then acts quickly. “You have only two, maybe three hours to do a painting,” he explains. “After that nothing is the same.”
Although Gonzales allows himself “a little tightening up” in the studio, his insistence on getting it right outside has forced him to develop a kind of artistic athleticism. His finished paintings are never fussy: they say what they need to say directly. There are hints of wet on wet, but most of his final brushwork is right there on the surface, moving across the surface with bravado. Gonzales has what you might call “perfect pitch” as a colorist, and his interest in transmitting a certain time of day is paying off. His finished works are just a bit abstract, as the some of the best plein air paintings tend to be.
After working seven years as a matte painter for the entertainment industry, Gonzales is ready to cut loose and develop his own voice. Commenting on the way his current work seems to be going, Gonzales simply says, “It feels natural to me.” Looking over his recent paintings it is clear Gonzales is doing what he was meant to do.
Gonzales will have his MFA thesis show from June 2 to 15 at Q Art Salon in Santa Ana, California.
Clockwise from right: Orange & Blue Overture, oil on panel, 10 x 20" Hillside: Golden Hour, oil on panel, 8 x 16" Sticks & Stones, oil on panel, 8 x 10"