Allen Garns has had a career in freelance illustration since 1980, producing work for clients like United Airlines and Newsweek. Allen is also an artist professionally versed in the mediums of oil and pastel. He was recently awarded the Kenneth Wellner Award from the Pastel Society of America and has also exhibited his work in many solo and group exhibitions.
"Walt Whitman said, 'to me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, every cubic inch of space is a miracle.' Struggling to express and translate these miracles into paintings is one of the great continuing adventures of my life. In my studies at the Art Center College of Design and museums of the world, I have drawn great inspiration from great artists. They have all informed me of the physical and emotional qualities of light. In each project I am involved with, I try to invest my paintings with a specific sense of light to establish form, describe space, and evoke emotion. Over the past few years, sharing my ideas and experience with others through teaching has been a wonderful complement to my painting."
ART 111 - Drawing 1
Bachelor of Fine Arts - Art Center College of Design
Graduate courses - Arizona State University
Professional Studies - International School of Art in Italy and the Art Students League, New York
"At first glance, it would seem my paintings are all about buildings and cities. That would be partly right. I’m more interested in color, design, shape, contrasts, and light and shadow – elements that artists have dealt with for centuries. I don’t necessarily go out looking for old buildings. It seems that older buildings have more interesting shapes and patterns of light and dark, so I am drawn to them. As opposed to my Plein air paintings, which are all done in one sitting, these studio paintings involve a process of painting, scraping out, repainting, sanding, and glazing. My process develops a rich, layered surface. Sometimes, remains of earlier lines and changes are still visible in the finished painting. During this process, I will often go back to the sight, make notes, and more sketches, resulting in new insights to the secrets that most objects or locations are hesitant to reveal. Those are things I love to discover.
I feel my paintings have a certain emotional quality. Nostalgia? Solitude? Quiet? Introspection? I'm not sure and don't want to be sure. I know that light cutting across a form stirs something in me."