Splendors of Vermont
After 20 years of painting Vermont— from the southern part of the state in places like Rupert, Dorset and Manchester to the northern part in places like Brandon, Stowe and Jeffersonville— Don Huber has developed a love and understanding of the area that is immediately felt in his expressive and painterly works.
"Vermont is unique because of the variety of mountains, valleys, streams, old homes, old buildings and barns that you find all over the state," says Huber. "The beauty of Vermont is that you don't even have to be creative because wherever you plop yourself down, from north to south, you have such a variety of things to paint.
Vermont makes it easier to be a painter."
What Huber also appreciates about the state is the ability of its inhabitants to maintain an old-fashioned feel, free from the common lures of commerce and development. He believes this is accomplished in part because the state is actually made up of a lot of little towns that have managed to preserve their antiquity.
"The state puts a great emphasis on history and wants to have an old-fashioned feel to the state," says Huber. "Around Stowe, businesses are not allowed to use neon or electric signs, and most towns still retain the quality of the natural environment. The villages fit into the landscape, and you can't find suburbs anywhere. I've been painting it for many years and have yet to meet an artist who hasn't been through Vermont to paint."
While Huber favors an expressionistic style that comes from his use of a palette knife, he still sees a general idea of representation as serving as the basis of these new works. He also believes that what makes a painting isn't necessarily being able to render a scene perfectly, but it's the ability to put the right shapes together to form a composition.
"Shapes are definitely one of the elements of these paintings and they are very important," says Huber. "Even though you are doing things representational, you really shouldn't have two ultimately similar shapes in a painting and that relates more to abstraction. When looking out at a broad scene, you see trees, colors and shapes. If you include the sky, that is one shape. In Vermont you might have a mountain, a rise, and then a valley, which is a flat plane, and you don't want to make those shapes the same."
Huber also finds that using the palette knife allows him to get across the idea of the landscape that he is trying to convey. The palette knife allows him to work his ideas of color into the paintings as well.
"Since I use a palette knife, I don't use a medium, and the result is purer, undiluted color," says Huber. "The palette knife also allows me to paint more abstractly and less mannered. With the knife, for example, one can paint with red, lay blue on top directly on the painting and get a vibration of purple or violet. But putting pressure on the knife, one can blend colors together directly on the painting."
This unique color, which comes from using only reds, blues and yellows, is also something that collectors have grown to know and look for in Huber's paintings.
"I have a tendency to be quite colorful, and I admit that sometimes I get carried away a bit," says Huber. "I like to bump up the color, and my colors are fairly bright, but I love that look. I feel that we have become more attuned to color today because of movies, television and even commercials."
The Gallery Says . . .
"In his art, Don Huber captures the progression of light in outdoor scenes and structures during different seasons and in different atmospheric conditions. This is accomplished in an impressionistic style that gives the viewer a feeling of joy in the beauty of outdoor scenes."
Lillian Zeber, Owner
The Art Gallery