When he moved to Southern California in 1998 from the East Coast, Todd Kenyon was inspired to create a body of work reflecting the beauty of the contemporary coastline. His current paintings continue to explore the multifaceted spirit of the ocean. Stepping back, the viewer is struck by the force of the crashing surf. Moving closer, one’s focus shifts to subtle color fields mimicking the reflective quality of light against sand and water.
Kenyon meticulously composes each painting, incorporating varieties of elements found at the beach, such as water, foam, sand, and rocks. To heighten the visual experience, he studies the movement and luminosity of water as it reflects against the shore. In so doing he pursues his ultimate aim, which is to convey “exactly what it looks like when you walk to the ocean.”
Kenyon paints in oil, but his technique closely resembles watercolor painting. Using oils dipped in Turpenoid, he constructs his oceanscapes by applying multiple layers of very thin washes on canvas. “When you build up the layers they become very large color fields. The more layers
I paint, the more depth there is in the painting. I create an ultra-realism by using a dry brush technique atop the washes that allows me to capture the tiniest details of sand or waves.”
Kenyon’s work brings people to a place where they find solitude, joy, and memories of summer at the beach.