Erin Gafill


My landscape work is informed by the atmospheric light and dramatic natural forms of California's Central Coast. Early influences include many of the 20th century Monterey Bay painters, early California Impressionists (William Merritt Chase) and Tonalists such as Gottardo Piazzoni, Russell Chatham.

Working pigment from thin to thick then scratching and scraping away, "unpainting," I begin with a tonal abstraction, usually no more than five shapes, exploring and repeating variations in color, pattern, and texture.

My painting process begins with drawing what I see every day the trees, the hills, the shape of sky and sea, obsessively re-examining the familiar. I work in notebooks first, then tonal sketches, selecting ideas that inspire deeper application to explore in paint on canvas. Finally, bold brush-strokes and a full spectrum palette support an expression with which to convey the sense of awe I feel confronted by the spectacular and powerful natural beauty of this region. Memory and dream inform color and mood.

The Sky Quilt Series began as a reduction of natural forms to their most essential geometric elements, applying paint to express these abstractions with a hand in impressionistic technique. Recent influences include American quilt-makers of Geez Bend.