Joseph Yetto

Joseph Yetto


Every time I sit before a new canvas I feel as though I need to relearn how to paint--a process I struggle through, yet love. I mostly paint things I find in nature, or man-made objects with a sense of physical history or historical nostalgia, affected by time and their surroundings.

Working from direct observation allows me to develop an intimate dialogue with my subject. Over the hours I spend working the surface--adding paint and scraping it away--the canvas develops a kind of skin; the painting becomes an object in itself and not just an image of my subject. This process can take me weeks or months to complete.

I am fascinated by beautiful deterioration. My sunflowers tend to be dried up; well beyond their days of lush yellow-orange and lovely warm browns. I often intend to capture these wonderful colors, but as time passes and the flowers change shape and hue so does my painting, as I record the transformation into a more delicate state of being. Sometimes I can resolve a painting before all the vibrancy dissipates from the petals. Other times I work on the piece until the flower is a pale withered ghost of itself.

Each time I sit with my subject my intent is to be as truthful as I can with what is before me. If that means changing the whole painting, so be it. Each painting is about more than the image depicted—it’s about the passing and recording of time.