What I do is perhaps best termed idealized realism. It may seem to be a photographic likeness with painstaking details, but the source images reveal that I seek better than life-like realism, better than what our eyes would see outdoors. Colors and contrasts are accentuated or altered, intrusive elements such as utility wires are left out, and a peaceful, often idyllic scene is created. I mostly take my own photographs and compose each shot with a painter’s view, often needing difficult angles and postures to find what I need. Scenes that call out to be painted have varied colors, contrasts of manmade structures declining against nature’s strength and resilience, water, rocks with lichen, peeling paint, rust, old wood, tall grass, boats with curved surfaces, reflections, and other contrasting textures and surfaces. Structures only partly glimpsed at the edges give a hint of what’s beyond. Having said all that, I need variety in my work, and so I’ve done somber black & white portraits, stormy scenes, wildlife in its habitat, and paintings of musical instruments. Scenes of rural Newfoundland have inspired me over the past 22 years that I have lived here, providing perfect images of clashes between nature’s enduring power and human constructs. With every Newfoundland scene, I seek to learn more about the culture or history of the area, which I convey in an accompanying essay on my website, so that followers of my work will also learn and appreciate more about this wonderful place.
Christopher Kovacs was born in Toronto in 1964, and lived in Richmond Hill, Kingston, Edmonton, and Boston, before settling in St. John’s, Newfoundland in 1997. Displays of talent as a child led to enrolment in twice weekly instruction in fine art beginning in grade 5, under the mentorship of Dutch artist William Wegman. This apprenticeship continued for eight years until Wegman’s death in 1983. Kovacs studied oil, acrylic, pencil, ink, and pastels, but settled on watercolour as his favorite medium. His first major challenge was to complete Wegman’s unfinished commissioned work, an interpretation of da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” He later received a year of instruction from artist Christopher Broadhurst at Queen’s University at Kingston. He began selling his first works on commission in the early 1980s, and progressed in 2002 to selling original paintings through his website, christopherkovacs.com.