About M. Caulder, Artist and Photographer

My strongest artistic influences include many 18th and 19th century painters, especially the Impressionists and Naturalist painters from France and Britain. I prefer to work from life, even when using photographic reference in the studio to complete the project. This gives me first-hand experience of the subject as a vibrant, living organism. I also research every subject I paint so that I have adequate knowledge and understanding of it to transfer to the painting. In addition, research helps me to better appreciate the subject. For example, for natural subjects (i.e. fish, birds, etc.), I seek out important details, such as structure of form, habitat, diet, and attributes that make this subject unique. In nature, individual specimens can vary widely in color and markings depending on habitat, diet and maturity, all of which is vital to inform my rendering of the subject. Even when I photograph subjects for later paintings, I try to capture what I really see when viewing that particular scene or object. Later, when working in the studio, I want to recreate that experience. Our vision is complex enough to take in shared light and color reflections, depths and hues. Sometimes, a camera is not able to capture this visual experience. That is why a great painting will oftentimes look more like what one actually sees than a photograph of the same subject. And this is the reason it is important to me to work from life and then reference photographs. When using photography as an art form, I try to capture what I see as closely as possible without relying on filters, etc. I don’t “photoshop”; I feel like it’s my job as the artist to capture the scene as naturally as possible. Nature is astoundingly beautiful, it doesn’t need special filters to add or subtract to it’s wonder.

Education: B.S., M.Ed.

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