Joshua Cunningham lives in St. Paul, with his wife Shannon, their children, Greta, William, and a sheepdog, Louie. He is a member of the Outdoor Painters of Minnesota, Oil Painters of America, and the American Impressionist Society. His work has garnered national attention by Plein Air Magazine and Informed Collector. The University of St. Thomas commissioned him to commemorate their 125th Anniversary, and the Science Museum of Minnesota selected him to be an artist in residence for the St. Croix Watershed Research Station at the historic Pine Needles Cabin.
“Melting into March” (featured above) was painted over the course of three days on location at one of Joshua’s favorite locations to paint, with one last day in the studio. “During that time,” Joshua says, “the sun came and went, people stopped and chatted, and amidst
Explore more of Joshua’s work at www.joshuacunningham.com
We are here, just for a time. Barns are here, just for a time. Cities are here, just for a time. The practice of painting on location deepens this understanding. It isn’t long before I find myself defending my work against mercurial skies and the constant march of the sun. Shadows move and colors change, leaving me to paint from memory.
Oil painting is the way I seek to understand what interests me, stirs my faith, and awakens memories. I paint what I see because I feel representational painting offers a human expression of the world around us in a language we all hold in common. My understanding and empathy for what can constitute a ‘subject’ continues to grow. As an artist, my primary goal is to continue getting better, so that I may do better by my subjects. If I have done right by them, the paintings have a chance to stir you as the scene has stirred me.
The field studies are finished work, in their own right. They hold in them the intense experience of their creation. In the studio, these paintings return me to the scene, bringing back not only what I saw, but also the sounds, smells, and stories shared by the passing stranger. It is all in the paint — along with dust from the fields and grit from the road. The work reflects the visual and visceral experiences of a deep and spontaneous exploration of our connection to the natural world.