Fairfield artist’s brush has captured many images
Since the time we moved to Connecticut nearly 37 years ago, we have been captivated by the miles of beaches adorning our coast line. But it has taken the eye and the paintbrush of Fairfield artist Jason Pritchard to capture the real beauty of our beaches and bring them to life on canvas.
When Jason exhibited his seascapes of most of those beaches at the Fairfield University Bookstore late last year, I was mesmerized by the realism and colors he displayed and told him how impressive the exhibition was. I recently chatted again with Jason, who originally hails from East Anglia, about 100 miles from London, UK, and we spoke at length about his love of art and his decision to capture Fairfield County beaches on canvas.
He and his wife moved to Fairfield about 9 years ago from Long Beach, Long Island. The Pritchard’s decision to move to Fairfield evolved from several factors but was primarily to be closer to family in Massachusetts and to raise a family. During the week, when the reality of work takes him away from his painting, Jason works in Manhattan as a project manager.
He told me that his original inspiration to be an artist came from several areas. He was always good at drawing and his father owned a printing operation where there was plenty of paper available for drawing. He also became fascinated by impressionistic art when he met one of his father’s clients, an impressionistic artist.
Jason shared that the real turning point for him in becoming an artist using watercolors was during a trip to Africa in 2003 when his digital photos were lost during processing. He recognized that the only way to recapture the beauty of sites during his trip was to paint them while they were still fresh in his memory. That was the real beginning of Jason’s journey into the world of art.
What really impressed me about Jason Pritchard’s background was the way he has blended his love of art with travel. As he said, “Travel and Painting go hand in hand.” With camera, sketch book and paint brush in hand, he has visited all 50 states, as well as European countries like Italy, Spain and Portugal, along with Brazil , Iceland, Argentina and Puerto Rico.
Jason’s decision to paint the beaches across Fairfield County and beyond, came from paintings he completed of Penfield, Jennings, Sasco, South Pine Creek and Lighthouse Point. In 2017 he expanded his work to all the beaches. “The seascapes I had already painted helped me take an interest in other beaches,” Jason said. “And I began to paint those with an eye toward a bigger show in the near future.”
His first show was early last year at Harborview Market in Black Rock. This talented artist displayed eight paintings, including unusual perspectives of Harborview itself and St. Mary’s in Black Rock.
His planning and painting process, while uncomplicated, is nevertheless pretty intense and includes a lot of detail work. He may spend at least a couple of weekends at a beach site, often in different kinds of weather and at different times of day. “I walk the beach, taking some candid photographs, stopping to make notes on the details I want to capture and sketching,” Jason told me.
“I try not to just copy a photo and may embellish the sea scape to make the painting a bit more dramatic, because some beaches are less dramatic than others I’ll also look at buildings along the beach to see how their shape may shape the landscape of the area.”
These days he is working on beach scapes in the towns of Greenwich and Stamford, as part of his goal to paint all the beaches in Fairfield County. He is also doing commission work of beaches, harbors and other waterfront areas for many Fairfield County residents. He has been a student at the Art Students League in Manhattan and has completed New York Landscapes as well.
Jason’s work has also taken him to beaches in Cape Cod and up to Provincetown. He commented that the light just seems different in that part of New England.
When I asked if the older of his three children, 7, 5 and 2 — share their dad’s love of art he mentioned that only his daughter, the middle child, enjoys painting alongside her dad. Who knows what the future will bring, but for now he’s happy with her interest.
Fairfield artist Jason Pritchard (www.jasonpritchardart.com) has become a real impressionist painter and his very unusual seascape art is helping me appreciate in a whole new way how much our area has to offer. I’ll be anxiously on the lookout for his newest work.