Artist Jacob Ouillette likens his paintings to musical compositions: each brushstroke is a note, and the final painting is a musical score. Though separate, each note contributes to the whole. “The paintings are created almost as a live performance, one stroke, or note at a time, until the composition is complete,” says Ouillette. “The sensory experience of music is something I strive to reproduce in painting.”
The artist uses a simple language of brushstrokes and color in his paintings. While previous works featured loosely gridded compositions of rectangles, circles, and curves, his recent work departs from such predetermined structures. Instead the brushstrokes respond to one another rather than to an overall scheme. "The brushstrokes wind around each other; they repel or repeat one another, mirror, follow or peel away," he says.
Ouillette carefully orchestrates the colors’ arrangement and frequency. “I am interested in the proportions of colors used,” he says. “How many times do they appear in the composition? Are all the colors equal or not?” He also meticulously controls the colors’ properties. Dissatisfied with commercially available paints, he mixes his own to achieve a unique palette of saturated colors.
The artist’s understanding of color is largely influenced by his upbringing in coastal Maine. “The awesomeness of the ocean and all of its weather, its atmosphere and light, taught me to contemplate the infinite shades of green and blue on the surface of the ocean and the ever-changing colors of the sky,” he says.