A ‘comfortable place’ | Local artist takes inspiration from Arcata Marsh – Times-Standard

For two decades, local painter Andrew Daniel traveled to the Arcata Swamp, where he found endless sources of artistic inspiration.

“When I’m stuck and don’t know what to paint, I often return to this cozy place and look for new ways to express its beauty,” said Daniel, who has lived in Arcata for 25 years.

“I like checking in to the place like I’m visiting an old friend for a long chat,” he said of the swamp. “In general, I paint four or five paintings there a year and I always learn new things, even when I paint the same scenes. I love knowing little details like how the ducks all came out in the morning and then I look up mid morning and they’re gone. The place has its own rhythm that plays out every day.

Daniel’s acrylic paintings return, so to speak, in November and December in an exhibition at the Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center, 569 South G St. in Arcata.

“The swamp presents unique challenges for an artist,” noted Daniel. “Often you get a pattern of the real world versus the reflected world, with weather patterns reflected from the sky. There are also seasonal color changes, with shades of green in the wet months and tan and rust in the dry months.

“Greys and Greens Gearheart Marsh” is an oil on canvas painting by Andrew Daniel. (Courtesy of the artist)

He says the water itself is central to his attraction to wetlands.

“I like the possibilities to suggest things in the highlights that need more definition above the waterline,” Daniel said. “Birds fascinate me too, because they have these sweet interactions. I like to think of them as friends, floating together enjoying the day. They are so fun to paint because their postures are so expressive and the textures of their feathers create all kinds of varieties.

Art, too, comes in all sorts of varieties, and Daniel – who often paints in oils – has recently decided to try his hand at acrylic for some of his designs.

“It’s been fun for me to play around with, as acrylic often feels like a less technical paint than oils, so I can make marks on impulse, knowing they can be covered over later without having to accommodate the paint too much. previous layer,” he said. “Having a more spontaneous approach keeps me more engaged in the process, and I think the paintings feel more immediate.”

“Western Sandpipers” is one of Andrew Daniel’s paintings featured in the Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center exhibition. (Courtesy of the artist)

Daniel spent his early years in Orange County. In college, he moved with his father to the small town of Houlton, Maine, where his father served as a minister. After high school he moved to Augusta and then to Portland, Maine to study art in college. .

In 1996, he decided to move to Arcata to reconnect with his sister, Sabrina, and earn an art degree from Humboldt State University (now Cal Poly Humboldt).

“After living here for a while, I knew this was my home,” Daniel said. “Nature has inspired me deeply, helping me move my art into a more valued and grounded space.”

Today, Daniel paints by day and works by night.

“Growing Geese” is an acrylic painting by Andrew Daniel, a longtime local painter. This is an image of the Arcata swamp. (Courtesy of the artist)

“Trying to be a professional artist while making a living is a real challenge,” he said. “Art requires a certain mental alertness that can only come for me by making it a priority in the daytime, so I have prioritized that in my career decisions. adults with developmental disabilities which allows me to sleep while they sleep and come home with the day open for art and other responsibilities, but I also work for an on-call crisis line that helps clients with intellectual disabilities.. So I often have to break away from my painting to help someone through a difficult situation.In between these two responsibilities, I also run an Airbnb with Alice (my life partner).

Andrew Daniel, an art graduate of Humboldt State University (now Cal Poly Humboldt), found great sources of artistic inspiration at Arcata Swamp.  (Submitted)
Andrew Daniel, an art graduate of Humboldt State University (now Cal Poly Humboldt), found great sources of artistic inspiration at Arcata Swamp. (Submitted)

Still, painting has always been a constant focus, he said.

“It’s been a great way to meet many interesting people in our artistic community as we share this special place and time,” said Daniel, who has shown his work at the Interpretation Center several times before.

“Having a show at the Interpretation Center gives me the opportunity to focus my creative energy on a place that I love,” he said. “…It always makes me happy to give back to the community there.”

The exhibits at the Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center – featuring local art and photography – are sponsored by the Friends of Arcata Marsh. The interpretation center is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wearing a mask is strongly recommended inside the building. For more information, call 707-826-2359.

For more information about the artist and his work, visit https://www.artofandrewdaniel.com.

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