Ronald D. Newman - Modern Impressionist
“Painting is silent, and as with music must be experienced with inner vision. Music is to be listened to and heard with the inner ear, however, the heart of the activity is a combination of the two. With fine art, painting is the result of a refining response to improvisation of the elements. Color against color, shape to form, line crossing line, color overlapping line, shape to color and so forth. The artist purifies this process through faith. We face, in the reality of our personal time, to seek a new age, as ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.’”
Born in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania, Ronald D. Newman (born 1937) began his artistic life studying at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh where he studied under the well-known and celebrated art teacher Joseph C. Fitzpatrick. Newman went on to attend the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio where he received a BFA in painting in 1961. He went on to continue his studies at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he focused on lithography, and then the Kansas Art Institute. Newman lived in New York City for five years, where he exhibited at the Waverly Gallery and in solo exhibits in SoHo. He returned to the Columbus College of Art and Design as an instructor before he went on to attend the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where he received an MFA in painting in 1977.
Newman became a fixture in the Columbus, Ohio arts community as the owner and director of The Artists’ Workshop, an art supply store, gallery, and art class space which he ran for 34 years and where he created much of his own works. Newman had several one-man exhibitions, including at the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts in Columbus, Ohio and the Springfield Museum of Art in Springfield, Ohio.
Newman is best known for monumental scale works including multi-panel paintings stretching up to 36 feet in length. He was greatly inspired by the natural world and the spiritual realm. His impressionist style and diaphanous scenes create works that hover in a liminal space between natural landscapes and mystical visions. Art critic, Jud Yalkut wrote of Newman’s work: “These amazing, large canvases sing out, surrounding the viewer in contemplative splendor.” It’s easy to feel completely enveloped by the vastness and depth of these paintings. As Newman writes, “You, the observer, are the subject matter of these paintings. That is, each painted environment requires your participation, with knowledge and imagination, to achieve the understanding that I have been pursuing in the experience of expression.”
Discussing his process, Newman said that inspiration “comes from as much internally as it does externally... the canvas is blank and so am I...and then it just evolves. I listen to classical music and create marks on canvas which make rhythm, color, shape, and form. I watch for things that happen in a painting, and elaborate on images that preceded my intention.” When he was active Newman usually had seven or eight canvases he was working on at the same time. “I start paintings, and sometimes it doesn’t go anywhere.” He would frequently put paintings away for weeks, months, or years. “...I keep coming back to them and see things that I didn’t even know I was doing.”
Throughout his life Newman is someone who looked for meaning in everything around him. His early paintings reflect an interest in the ideas of Carl Jung, astrology, and the symbolism of the elements: earth, air, water, fire, and ether, which was the subject of a massive 5 part series of mural-sized paintings in 1979.
“Art does not express nature through any form. It is nature! Art would be of little significance if it did not rise above the existing reality.” Yalkut described Newman’s work is as “mystical blend of abstraction and natural form.” His wife, Melinda, also an artist, often referred to the nearby nature preserve as the Newman Studio. His work is teeming with the movement and light he sees in all the elements of nature. “Water doesn’t just lay in the ocean or the lake. It’s part of the rain.”Please check out this fantastic artist's work:
Interviews with Marla Levine.
Dillman, Shannon. “Everything is ‘Elemental’ to Westside Artist Ronald Newman.” Westside
Messenger [Columbus], Nov. 21, 2005, p. 6.
Fryer Kholes, Jeanne. “Shop Becomes Gallery for Mystic’s Works.” Columbus Dispatch, April 2,
Newman, Ronald. “Artist’s Statement.”
“Ronald D. Newman: Visionary Paintings.” Exhibition plaque from the Springfield Museum of
Art, Springfield, Ohio.
Yulkat, Jud. “Mystic Visions: The Ethereal World of Ronald D. Newman.” A&C Visuals [Dayton],
Nov. 16-22, 2005.