Forms and Materiality: The Art Portfolio of R. Dale McElwee

A painting of a statue with warm coloursBarachiel

R. Dale McElwee is an artist who often paints in watercolour, recreating and remixing imagery from New Orleans cemeteries. In many of his works, R. Dale examines the forms and materiality of stone statues, as well as plants and other environmental features.

A watercolour painting of a water main cover in New OrleansUntitled


I really enjoy the dreamlike colour schemes that R. Dale employs in his recent gallery of works from 2017. The paintings utilize the diffuse nature of the watercolour medium to great effect, with a translucent, pastel palette layered over more detailed studies of statues and sculptures. It’s interesting to be able to see the contrast in technique between R. Dale’s detailed figurative painting, and abstracted elements.

A screen capture of R. Dale McElwee's art portfolio


In paintings of plants, insects, and other subject matter R. Dale tends toward a more saturated colour palette, often building objects out of numerous small brush marks and planes of different colour. The resulting effect is beautifully multidimensional.

A watercolour painting of a leafUntitled

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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