Austin MacRae


144 Enfield Main Road
Ithaca, NY 14850

I create representational paintings that focus on the poetry in the everyday–a trodden pasture, a crooked tree, or a sunlit power line. I’m particularly interested in the properties of light, both natural and artificial, and often explore scenes where the two are in competition with–or compliment–each other. My most recent series, tentatively called “Shift Change,” focuses on liminal scenes where a sunset, say, wanes above the harsh white of parking lot lights. My paintings also focus on the tension between interior and exterior spaces, suggesting a narrative whenever possible. I count the Wyeth clan among my biggest artistic influences and seek to infuse my paintings with a sense of story and character. My technique is rather basic at this point–acrylic paint on (mostly) board. I’ve recently started using painter’s tape to achieve sharp lines that I then enjoy scraping and breaking–I’ve grown fascinated with the ways in which clean and precise lines and edges can be employed alongside spontaneous (or even naive?) marks to achieve a powerful effect.

In terms of my work routine, I am a daily painter. After quitting my office job about a year ago, I, for the first time in my life, have been able to put the arts–both painting and music–in a primary position. Each morning I generally rise and complete a painting sketch; if the weather is nice, the sketch is often done plein air. In the winter I generally use reference photos as inspiration, though I play fast and loose with them. Once I’ve accumulated enough strong sketches, I begin choosing ones that I then work into larger pieces–mostly 16” x 20” at this point, sometimes larger.