We're very excited to have work by local painter Brian Rounds at Stripe this May. We've long since been fans of his ethereal plein air paintings that capture exactly what we love about our central coast landscape. Read below to find out a little bit more about his formative art years, process and inspirations. 

Growing up, what did art mean to you and how did you find yourself drawn to practicing it/making it a career?
Growing up , I was one of those kids who was constantly sketching in the margins of school notebooks. Recognition from teachers early on was encouraging. By late high school I was carrying around a sketchbook almost everywhere and trying to make every page well designed.  Fellow students would try to get me to complete their art projects for them.  I would illustrate stories in ball point  and meticulously catalogue cassette tapes with copious attention to detailed cover artwork. 

Tell us about your training and influences.
In college, I started out in literature, then design, and wanted to be an illustrator.  My professors at Cal Poly could not satisfy my hunger for drawing so they prescribed for me a much more rigorous studio art curriculum.  At UCSC, I was lucky enough to study with Patrick Aherne, who had a gift for instilling in his students a great love and respect for painting.  That was where I first tried my hand at painting the landscape outdoors.  I also practiced freelance illustration for a while but it was painting in oils that really took hold of me.  

Some of my deepest influences go way back to old friendships,  mentors and fellow artists. Other artists I find endlessly inspiring are Cezanne, Barbizon painters, Corot, Courbet, Morandi, Ab Ex painters,  Diebenkorn, and many more. 

How do you feel you are changing or growing as an artist?
Working in oils in the studio took my involvement in art process a giant step further and opened my eyes to a larger world of possibilities.  Early efforts in oils were a bit of a struggle as, unlike my previous technical training in drawing and color theory, the new coursework emphasized personal discovery through prolonged experimentation with the medium. I dove into art history with a passion and developed a new appreciation for art as something enduring and transformative.  I decided to continue painting after graduation and soon started exhibiting abstract and landscape paintings locally.  My emphasis has become plein air painting, probably because it gets me out of my own head and into the sunlight.

What do you find yourself most drawn to painting?
With painting, I feel as though I've taken on a challenge that I will never be able to truly exhaust and that notion spurs me on today just as it did when I finished school.  In a way, I have kept a steady course but there is always so much room for improvement as a visual artist, as a craftsman, and as a person .  There are also many places I look forward to painting. 

Brian's art will be up at Stripe during the month of May, his opening reception will be Friday May 6th from 5-9 pm. 
You can visit his website here.