Making Process, Bruce Katlin, Painter

A moment of reflection. We are always curious about the creative process of artists. How did they get to this point? We want to dive into the mind of the creators. The result: ‘Making Process’, a column featuring artists who offer us an insight in their creative process.


In this episode Bruce Katlin. Bruce creates landscape paintings and lives in the USA.


How wou you describe yourself?

I am a landscape painter who uses oil and who often paints while trail running. Recently, I have been playing with more abstract images incorporating various media, including cold wax, fire ash and Mica flakes.


Can you tell more about your trail running?

I love being on the mountains running for long distances which takes me away from painting so, I thought. “Why not combine the two – painting and running?” During my trail running and painting adventures, the combined activities provide an unparalleled nirvana-like state, one where pragmatic thinking and intuitiveness flow effortlessly. For the past several years, I have been researching the effects of high altitude exercise and its linkage to creativity and divergent thinking, communicating with National and International research labs compiling their findings along with my own.

Back to your paintings. What caused the change between the old and new piece?

Practice, practice and more practice. I have more time to paint than when I started six years ago. I had a pause of 40 years. Six years ago, I picked up my brush and started. Most skills including the visual arts are stunted when one stops their particular medium. My art was no different. It was really like starting all over again.


And what do you find the greatest improvement?

Volume, color palette, flow, freedom and the new found ability to see energy within a subject. All this is not only due to practice/painting. It also involves the ability to allow pragmatic and divergent thinking meet at an unconscious confluence, where the act of painting becomes Zen-like. This is accomplished by completing high intensity exercise prior to or during painting sessions.


What inspires you?

‘Do you know the saying? Two artists in a car are bound to get in an accident because they’re looking at everything around them.’ I am no different. I find inspiration in all phenomena – that tree, that rock, that falling down barn. Also, my parents took me to art museums at an early age and I immediately fell in love with the Impressionists. My sister was my biggest influence, as she encouraged me and created projects for us to do together whenever she was home from University.


More work of Bruce Katlin

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