mark vandervinne

Mark was born and raised in a small town in eastern Iowa. He remembers looking beyond his backyard at the rolling hills and farms nearby while standing at his home’s glass patio door. From this vantage point, he would watch the change of the seasons as well as the daily change of the light and weather. As he grew, so did the town, and soon development took over and the view changed. The farms and forests gave way to residential subdivisions, like many towns bordering larger cities.

As the son of a high school English teacher, the family (at times quite extended) would often take a couple weeks before the start of the school year and travel by car across the western United States. Because of this, he has been to every state west of the Mississippi River in the continental U.S., except for Washington (something he hopes to remedy someday). While the destinations of these trips were the landmarks of the national parks, the scenery along the way was just as interesting to Mark.

These two occurrences have become key in Mark’s thoughts and feelings for the landscape. This sense of deep meditation on the landscape is carried throughout Mark’s work. There is a familiarity with his subjects, while maintaining a sense of awe and mystery. The expression of beauty in the simple, ordinary landscape is what drives Mark. “I have been fortunate to see much of the grandeur of America, and I want to reinforce the idea that beauty isn’t only found in the grand vistas, but also in the places just outside your door.”

Mark works both en plein air (outside, from life) and in his studio. While most of the fieldwork is used for studies and remembrance of a moment or location, he believes it is vital to his art. “The colors, light and mood I experience outside constantly inspire me. It also helps keep me honest in color and technical skill to quickly capture the essence of a scene,” he says. “In the safety of the studio is where I can feel free to explore with technique, composition and color. I get to spend time with a piece to really hone in on what I want to say and the best way to state it.” Mark approaches each painting with the desire to convey a sense of place, as well as his personal feeling toward it, and at time will incorporate personal metaphors into his work.

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