Artists commonly plan their compositions before they actually begin to create them, whether that means drawing preliminary sketches or even just envisioning them in the mind’s eye. But Aaron Fritz takes that notion a lot further than most: He plans for months in advance, working on the under-work, the coats of gesso and undercoats of paint that prepare the canvas for the upper layers, undergoing much contemplation to get the mood he’s looking for in the piece.
And that approach has served him well, because his heavily textured canvases (“Thor’s Wedding” is pictured) are all about mood, reminiscent of Van Gogh with their broad brushstrokes and expressive use of color. Fritz says, “I think every artist sits down with a blank canvas, a few paints, and creates—and in that creation, they pour a little of their soul. In my work, I try to bring out the emotions that I enjoy in the great outdoors where I spend much of my time.”
Full of what he calls “self-imposed imperfections,” his works are nothing if not painterly; big, bold, expressionistic expanses, the gesture of the brush sweeping and swift, shapes suggested more than defined, and his attention to the under-painting adds subtlety that is needed so the works aren’t overwhelming. Fritz returned to painting several years ago after setting it aside for a while, and the joy he takes in the act is conveyed in every brushstroke, across every inch of canvas.