I feel a tremendous amount of excitement facing a new canvas. This energy comes from the thrill of transforming it into a recollection of my travels to the world's most beautiful and romantic places. As an Expressionist, I paint fast while the passion for the painting is very strong. For me, the paint is the subject matter just as much as the image. I love the juicy chunks of color that I can translate to canvas with my palette knife." --Howard Behrens
Shooting references in Venice, Italy.
For the past 25 years, Howard Behrens, the world's most renowned palette knife artist, has had a romance with the sun. From the idyllic lakes of Italy to the intimate gardens of New England, the artist has danced with her, chased her, seen her in her many different moods. Behrens' motivation comes from his strong passion to capture the "essence" of the places he visits around the world. The artist has been influenced by Monet, Van Gogh and Nicola Simbari, the Italian palette knife artist. Behrens attempts to express his love for the radiance of the sun's gifts - shadow, light, color, and the subtle nuances of these elements. Many years ago, Behrens learned that the only way he can really achieve what he feels in his paintings is to create them using a palette knife for its boldness and control of color instead of a brush.
Sketching light and shadow.
Using the palette knife, Behrens captures not only the softness of clouds, but also the boldness of mountains, the vibrancy of flowers, and the strength of water. Behrens moves the palette knife furiously as he applies deep, rich color in many layers to achieve dimension and mood. Behrens' skill with this instrument has earned him recognition as America's leading palette knife artist. Behrens is also a classicist in his approach to composition so that there is plenty of room for the eye to rest and the imagination to wander, touring distant horizons around the world taking in crystal coves, wispy palms, pink villas, and stunning overlooks in the artist's paintings of these exotic places.
Traveling is like an aphrodisiac in Behrens' romance with the sun. During his travels, he has seen the way the ever-changing kaleidoscope of light and shadow changes how a place looks and feels from hour to hour. Often, the artist sits and waits for these moods to present themselves to him. Behrens says the sun has taught him to be patient, to observe, and to play. The artist says his excitement continues to peak as he plans each new trip - whether it's a return to a place he has painted over and over or whether it's a new adventure in a land unknown.
Behrens has had over 150 one-man shows from coast-to-coast since becoming a professional artist in 1980. His works have been on the covers of many art publications and he has been the featured subject of numerous magazines and newspapers. After visiting Giverny, France, last year, the artist created a "Tribute to Monet" series that was exhibited at the Embassy of France in Washington, D. C. As an official artist for the 2002 Winter Olympics, Behrens' painting, "In Motion," was featured at the games. The artist's works are owned by numerous, well-known collectors and are in the permanent collections of many museums. The most recent Behrens' collectors are former President George Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush.
Behrens and his former wife, Judi, traveled the world - Italy, Bermuda, Mexico, across America - to many of their favorite places filled with gardens, inns, vistas, and villas.
Though born in Chicago, he is a longtime resident of the Washington, D. C. area. He holds a Bachelors and a Masters Degree in Fine Art from the University of Maryland. The artist's works are published and distributed as limited editions by Behrens International Group, LLC