Interview with artist Robert L. Canaga

Robert L. Canaga is a painter, photographer, and printmaker. His concentration is on earth, landscape, and growth, but not in a classical "normal" way. He wants to see the elements and forces that go to making wines, growing foods, and replenishing the world. His artwork is done on linen, using oils, wax, driers, and raw pigments to develop his images. We have conducted an interview with Robert.

What kind of painting do you concentrate on creating?

Abstract land forms, cross sections of the earth, and the roots growing down to find nutrients are my focus, though I often leap back to impressionist landscapes (my 15-minute paintings)

Why do you like the 'growth' elements in your artwork?

I live in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, the center for wines in the region. I have worked with wineries for years and watched the grapes affected by climate, by soils, and by people caring for them. All this shows up in my work.

How special is working on linen as compared to cotton? What kind of effects can you achieve? 

I use tools like bowl scrapers, painting knives, scrapers, spatulas, and just about anything else that will move paint they way I want. Linen holds up while cotton sags and stretches. This allows me to create thin passages and fill areas I have scraped back with color. I also use the finest gesso, Lascaux.

What is your favorite media/medium? 

I use oil and cold wax and mix paints, raw pigments, and metallic dust so I can lay in thin layers and mix the colors on the linen. I have control over how fast or slow it drys, how much pigment I add, and how the layers present visually.

Which kind of images best suits for your usage and creativity? When did you first discovered amalgamated photography and begin incorporating it into your art? 

Land scape. But for the photography, I use stacked rock, rock cliffs, and tree bark as a base to overlay my figurative photos. I shoot in the studio in bright light, look for matches that place the model in the background so that each exists independently but work as a pairing.

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