There is a wondrous energy, a freshness associated with painting from life. "Life is a miraculous gift, and one has a responsibility to realize the great beauty and wonder of the creation. In a grand landscape, within the beauty and innocence of a small child, or even in a small detail in the design of a leaf - all are sources of inspiration for my work." The moments captured by Douglas Ball are striking works. His landscapes give us a glimpse of nature's extraordinary power. His portraits are contemplative and unaffected. They become tiny vignettes portrayed on canvas.
Inspired by an array of artists - from Da Vinci, Rembrandt, to Gericault, Vermeer, Monet, Pissaro, Edgar Payne, Robert Henri, John Singer Sargent, and Andres Zorn - Douglas Ball describes himself as a realist who has a great love of drawing, and a color sense developed from plein air painting. While living in Italy in the early 1980's, he was enthralled by the landscapes of Tuscany and was inspired to paint en plein aire for the first time. Influenced by the majestic landscapes of Albert Bierstadt and Frederick Church, Ball conveys in his own landscapes a sense of radiance and stillness. Within his seascape paintings and coastal scenes, light is seen brilliantly illuminated. Ball's portrait paintings have the same sense of beauty and mystery. He has a remarkable talent for conveying his characters - we are given a glance at their souls, their charm, their strengths, and at the same time their vulnerabilities.
"It is through light that the beauty of the world is revealed. What engages my attention as a painter is capturing the ever-changing effect of light on a subject, whether the subject is a landscape, figure or still life. I am attracted to the way light helps to describe form; how it changes local color and creates shadows filled with wonder. If I can communicate a fraction of that captivation to the viewer, then the work, for me has succeeded."
Douglas Ball's artistic resume is animated with more than just landscape and portrait paintings. In 1989, Ball joined the background department at Walt Disney Feature Animation, painting backgrounds for The Little Mermaid and Rescuers Down Under; and he was the assistant background supervisor on The Lion King. After the success of The Lion King, he and his wife spent a year in Paris as he supervised the background department in Disney's new Paris studio during the production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In 1995, he was chosen to supervise Disney's first partially 3-D animated feature, Tarzan. He accompanied the show's artistic team to Africa, where he helped to do the visual research for the film.
Today, he and his wife, Susy, live in a rural part of the Big Island of Hawaii, indulged by stirring views; yet, even a cursory glance at his portfolio confirms that he is truly "at home" wherever the contrasts of light and shadow are sharpest (he is painting). From Paris to Polynesia with many stops in between, Ball and his wife have explored exotic locations focusing on how landscapes, traditionally dressed people, and timeworn surfaces communicate something grander than the details. He has exhibited his work in the Oil Painters of America's National and Western Regional Exhibitions, the California Art Club's Gold Medal Exhibition, On Location in Malibu Exhibitions, and is a regular participant in plein air events, such as Sonoma Plein Air and Estes Park Plein Air.
Paying tribute to the uniqueness of Hawaiian culture, lushness of flora, pristine air and sea is a special observance of traditions and forms allowing artist and viewer alike to participate in a kind of spiritual connection.
Truly, Lahaina Galleries is fortunate to represent the work of this wonderful artist. Today, Douglas Ball continues to create works in celebration of nature and of life. Each canvas shows us, in a simple glance, the deeper meaning of the word beauty.