• Paintings Are Autobiographies
  • Post author
    Dan Mondloch

Paintings Are Autobiographies

Recently, a workshop coordinator was writing a grant to help fund a workshop I was teaching and needed some help. One of the grant requirements was to submit 4 recent award winning paintings with captions that included the standard info like title, size, price, inspiration, etc. As I started to mine my files, I realized the process was half ego trip and half trip down memory lane. As artists, our collections are, at their core, autobiographies. Each painting a memory, a piece of ourselves. We make a living by selling little bits of our lives away. What an incredible honor! I remember a quote a mentor of mine once said: "When someone buys a painting from you, it's like they're taking you by the shoulders and saying 'I GET YOU!'."

 If I'm being honest, looking for files, or similar tasks, usually start out as a bit of an annoyance to take the time to do it, but as I start to dig I usually get sucked in. Embarrassingly sometimes hours go by, but it seems respectful to take some time to reflect and appreciate all of the amazing places I've been able to paint and all the wonderful people I've been able to meet. When it wraps up, I end up feeling the most immense feeling of gratitude for being able to live such a simple yet absolutely extraordinary life.  

Best Plein Air, Laguna Plein Air Painters Association Waterworks Exhibition 2018
Plein Air
Balboa Sunset
The late afternoon light behind the Spanish Mission Church in San Diego’s Balboa Park seemed to capture that elusive feeling of west coast warm sunset light that is so iconic of this area. 


Best Watercolor, Plein Air Magazine BiMonthly Competition
19 Below
Driving my son to Daycare one frigid morning, I was struck by how pronounced the car exhaust was, and it was like a switch flipped in my head, I no longer saw the subject as a reminder of how cold it was and instantly became aware of the incredible atmospheric potential it had as a subject for painting, and that switch has provided an immense amount of satisfaction and has enriched my life during the coldest days of the year. 
1st Place, Quick Paint, Grand Marais Plein Air
Plein Air
Afternoon Glimmer, Artists Point
The glare on the water and the rocks, the late afternoon light, the excitement and busyness of the people, and the majestic location all provided ample energy and inspiration that I attempted to harness and capture in this scene. 


Best of Show and People’s Choice, Grand Marais Plein Air 2018
Plein Air
Season’s End
I walked by this scene two hours prior and didn’t think anything of it, I went and painted the waves hitting the rocks, but on the way back it was bathed in warm afternoon light and my jaw dropped with how majestically beautiful it was. One of those rare but poignant moments when I knew I just simply had to paint that scene. 

  • Post author
    Dan Mondloch