Blog: Thoughts on Life and Painting

A way of explaining the world

Fragile Sea 2, 48×48, Acrylic Mixed Media

What science and art have in common is a way of explaining the world. These Fragile Earth paintings are my reaction to the times in which we find ourselves.

Artists, like poets, use visual lyricism to interpret what is happening to THEM, and thus everyone else TOGETHER. The collective US respond because we share this world. Each unique person, you, me, each sentient being, brings an individual viewpoint to the party and we make this concoction, this blossoming creation together. So therefore your response to this painting is a shared one, and that my friends, is the measure of the power of a work of art: the breadth and depth of experience that the work allows each of us to share –with everyone!

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Immediate Giftification

We now have e-gift cards!

Let’s face it. Art is VERY subjective. You wouldn’t presume to pick a lamp for someone, or their wallpaper. So giving the gift of art is always fraught with risk, no matter how sure you are that your favorite person will simply love it. So a gift card is the perfect way to say “Hey, I think you would enjoy a work of art, so pick what you would really like and enjoy it forever.”

With one or two clicks, get a beautiful E-Gift card to send to that special person…like the guy or gal who has everything, and how the heck are you going to find something truly unique??? We’ve got the answer.

An Aaron Bowles Art E-Gift Card

You can download a custom-designed gift card right from our website! This includes a beautiful PDF gift announcement. Several styles to choose from—contemporary to traditional. Simply print the colorful gift card and the email with the code we’ll send you, and you’ve got a ready-to-give, truly unique gift, that can magically turn into a work of art that will be long cherished.


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What is an abstract landscape?

Abstract representative improvisation, at the intersection of an arranged eloquence and expressionism, enables one to construct dream worlds that are self-aware, and conscious of the external cumulative influences of all the myriad artistic occurrences that precede and are concurrent with our present reality. This includes the use of internal dreams, landscapes, contemporary events, mythologies, and widely disparate textures and surfaces with which to depict our world’s collective visions.


JMW Turner, Sunset At Turners Cove
Paul Cezanne, Mt. Saint Victoire
Georges Braque, Houses at L’Estaque
Andre L’Hote, Riverbank
Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park
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Unique marks


This painting uses verticals and curves to indicate the forest against a backdrop of light shining through the trees. A great challenge in this series is to not render too much—to avoid being too fussy. That would detract from the abstraction sensibility. So the task is to find mark-making tools that will say something like “grasses” or “distant trees” without being too literal.

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The midtone challenge

Paintings that explore a vista of the sea.
These are interesting to do because I have to control the value (darkness and lightness) very carefully. The painting needs to be an overall midtone, so that the sun can shine against a darker background in order to get the effect of light, but not so dark as to be gloomy. And blending a naturalistic view with abstraction is always a challenge.

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This Fragile Earth

At this juncture in human history, a recognition of the overwhelming problem facing our species seems inevitable. Each of us has a personal connection with this Earth. She nourishes and sustains us, yet is dependent upon us for her caretaking. This work makes us aware of the beauty and fragility of our world. And provides inspiration for you to make a difference.

The techniques to express the complexity of this visual world evolved from an interest in impressionism, that eventually transitioned to modernism, and is now contemporary abstraction.

Abstract representative improvisation, a term at the intersection of an arranged eloquence and expressionism, enables us to construct dream worlds that are self-aware, and conscious of the external cumulative influences of all the myriad artistic occurrences that precede and are concurrent with our present reality. Our purview includes the use of internal dreams, landscapes, contemporary events, mythologies, and widely disparate textures and surfaces with which to depict our visions.

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ANGELS: Where does inspiration come from?

This is a Q&A for The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, who are showing my Angels of the River / Hollywood Cemetery series during the month of July. An opening is scheduled for Thursday, July 18th.

Tell us a little bit about your background and how long you have been creating art?
I started drawing in the 7th grade when an art teacher made illustrations for theater posters, and I saw how she effortlessly drew these wonderful large sketches. I was immediately taken with her skill, and wanted to learn to do that.

What (or who) inspires you?
Today’s global challenges can no longer be ignored. I have been interested in landscape painting for many years, and now nature, and us, are in trouble. So that is my current preoccupation.

My Angels series, on the other hand, is a bit of seeking solace. I started making paintings of the Hollywood Cemetery neoclassical sculptures in a modernist style just to see if I could do it, and then after a while the idea of seeking a painting method that could convey complexity and serenity in one painting became the goal. And I also wanted a sense of simplicity or humility to the works, which is reflected in the matte varnish and basic framing style.

How did you find the medium that best worked for you? What was that process of discovery like?
I have always been a painter. I made my first painting in the 8th grade. And then started making posters and painting theater sets in high school. And then studied graphic design, and later became an illustrator and designer after college.

What were some of your early influences to pursue the arts? Did you always want to be an artist when you were a child?
My mother had put Picasso prints —of fruit bowls— and Impressionist prints in my room. I spent hours staring at those. (It is very interesting to think about the influences an environment has on the child.) I have to admit that art is the only thing I know how to do well. If I could do other things I probably would do them. I have certainly tried. But the demand of being expressive is very strong.

Outside of your art—what feeds your imagination and brings you joy?
I listen to a lot of music. My studio space is in a building with a recording studio and performance space, so there is music all around. Whenever I can, I work with music on, mostly trip hop and cool jazz. I am inspired by my family, who are all lively, opinionated, and very verbal. And whenever possible we go out into nature, especially to the river.

What creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
I think interactive installations would be very fun to do. I have some skills in computer art and video, so they would be colorful, light-filled and have a sense of narrative. Maybe a multimedia story of the visitors, who would provide the essential themes (i.e., data) and influence the direction.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever created?
My current series, Fragile Seas, is very interesting to me. I have only been painting these for a couple of months but already they are coming together. They use a number of mark making techniques I have learned in the last few years with the idea of a layered, heavily textured visual surface.

What are you trying to communicate with your art?
The Fragile Seas paintings communicate my feelings about global warming, and have a dusty, sun-drenched atmosphere to them. If you’re an art lover, this style of painting is called tonalism, where we are looking into the sun (W. M. Turner is the best known artist of this style.) The notion of distant seas, far horizons, and the burning sun are simply irresistible to paint.

What advice would you give to people looking to explore becoming an artist?
I would say really work on knowing yourself…the best way to start is simply to observe the world and your feelings about it. Then fill sketchbooks with your ideas. Those sketchbooks, even the ones from your first few years as an artist, can provide ideas and fuel for further exploration for years to come. I still look at old sketchbooks and revisit themes I had been interested in earlier. The Angels Series was inspired by trips to Europe and that old-world sensibility combined with modernist ideas I have had since I first went to college.

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Fragile Seas

Some thoughts from the people working on the problem:

Healthy oceans are the life support system for our planet, providing 97 percent of the Earth’s livable habitat and a home to more than 700,000 species. The oceans are vital to human health as well, providing jobs, enjoyment and food to billions of people. Half of the oxygen we breathe is generated by our oceans. (

Our oceans are taking a beating from overfishing, pollution, acidification and warming, putting at risk the many creatures who make their home in seawater. But when most people think of struggling ocean species, the first animals that come to mind are probably whales, seals or sea turtles. (

The world’s oceans are in trouble. Every day, 22 million tons of carbon dioxide from factories, cars, power plants and other human sources are absorbed by the world’s oceans.

The result? A frightening phenomenon that’s making seawater more acidic, spelling disaster for many marine animals, from plankton and coral up the food chain to sea stars, salmon, sea otters, whales — and ultimately people, who rely on oceans for food.

The oceans have become 30 percent more acidic because of the carbon pollution we’re pumping into the atmosphere. We’re already seeing the effects as coral reefs collapse, oyster beds disappear and tiny creatures that are important food sources get smaller and weaker.

Today, there are serious challenges ahead: a warming climate, unprecedented levels of pollution, and powerful special interests undermining basic protections. There’s no time to waste in coming together for new solutions.

A percentage of the profits from the sale of the Fragile Seas project artwork will be donated to The Sierra Club and The Southern Environmental Law Center.



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