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About the Artist

 

I once told a first grade art class that if they were quiet and still they would hear ‘the voices’ tell them which color would go in which shapes on their abstract designs. One by one their eyes grew wide and they leaped into action. Others looked at me astonished and called out, “I heard the voices Mr. Pflughoeft!”

My own painting has gone much like this for the past 40 years. I sit quietly and wait for ‘the voices’. They tell me which color, line or shape goes where. They tell me which texture might work on certain forms. They tell me when to be strong and striking, and when to soften the look. They tell me when I’m finished with a painting and even what my next series will entail. Am I channeling paintings? I don’t think so. If anything, I’m just listening for the voice of the painter deep within me. This voice tells me who I am now as an artist. It keeps me current on what excites me visually and what challenges me artistically and philosophically.

Art making doesn’t feel like an intellectual activity for me, though it is emotional and spiritual. I spend endless amounts of time focused on each piece. I leave them lay around my house and studio so that I can sit with them. The time is actually spent looking, listening and simply being aware, alert, open and present. After spending this time I just ‘understand’ what must be done next. Making art is more an intuitive or mystical activity for me, and I think this is true for a lot of artists.

 

About the Media

I back-paint Plexiglas panels using layers of acrylic paint. I often apply the paint in a transparent manner, blending thin coats of color, wet on wet. I then etch the wet paint with various scraping tools or a crackle material to create linear openings in the paint coat. I then create a 2-D collage layer in areas I have left clear using painted paper or canvas as a background. I have also used painted acetate, mylar, velum or prisma paper and recently, printed holograpgic imagery. These techniques create a three dimensional look because of the layering of materials.

 

About the Composition Process

The two aspects of composition that I focus on most are balance and contrast. Balancing the visual weight in a work is vital to any work of art. One element, be it a swath of color, a line, a texture or form needs to be somehow counter-balanced by another, or the finished piece will visually loose its equilibrium.

My compositions are also typically about contrasts. My colors reach across the color wheel rather than simply moving to ones adjacent to each other. This tension of opposites usually seems necessary in my artwork. Large versus small, hard-edged versus soft or blended, dark versus light and smooth versus textured are contrasts that appear in the majority of my work. These contrasting components create the vital element of variety in my paintings.