Boston North Artists

Dan Cianfarini

Biography and Artist Statement

I began painting in watercolors about sixteen years ago in part to understand why I found myself increasingly attracted to watercolors over other media when visiting a museum or gallery. Although I have always been interested in the visual arts, my undergraduate (Williams) and graduate (Yale) education and training were in literature, foreign languages, writing, and editing. Having had no formal studio art education, I began taking watercolor and drawing classes at the Arlington (MA) Center for the Arts and in the intervening years have attended numerous painting workshops in the Boston area, Maine, California, Scotland, and Italy.

For the past ten years I have studied with watercolorist David Dewey in Owls Head, Maine. In addition, I have studied painting with Caleb Stone, Gary Tucker, Mary Whyte, David Taylor, Marjorie Glick, Emily Passman, Maris Platais, Diane Fiedler and Paul George, and life drawing with Helen Payne and Jeremy Angier. I have also participated in landscape painting workshops in Tuscany, studying with Maddine Insalaco and Joe Vinson of Etruscan Places. In most workshops emphasis has been on plein air practice as the best way to learn to capture light’s effects with quick, intuitive color choices and value contrasts.

I am temperamentally drawn to certain aspects of the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, specifically, its focus on finding beauty in the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. I tend to paint old buildings, ruins, weathered boats, or other man-made objects whose worn and crumbling surfaces suggest time’s passage. When painting a landscape, I often include an architectural element to allude to human presence and the notion of time.

For me, the challenge of watercolor painting is in finding a style that will allow for rendering the surface of things without losing the medium’s characteristic freshness, transparency, luminosity, and spontaneity.

Solo Exhibitions

Group Exhibitions

Around the Bend

Around the Bend (Concord River), Watercolor, 13" x 10"

Fog Lifting over Marshall Point

Fog Lifting Over Marshall Point (Maine), Watercolor, 12" x 9"

On a Sea of Grass

On A Sea of Grass (Essex), Watercolor, 10.5" x 9.5"

Three Monhegan Friends

Three Monhegan Friends, Pen and Ink, 14" x 11"

Visit Dan's Website