The transition to a career in fine art began in 1990. As illustration raced forward into a new digital era, my interests went back in time to the egg tempera painters of the early Renaissance. I came to love the traditional approach of very detailed drawings combined with precisely developed layers of color. At the same time, a window of opportunity opened for me to pursue yet another obsession: sailing and my love for the sea. My home and studio were reduced to fit aboard a 34 ft. sloop and I sailed out of the Great Lakes to explore new horizons.

I lived and worked aboard "Murmur" in various harbors along the East Coast and the Bahamas. That experience has now been combined with a "home base" in a small coastal village in Accomac, Virginia. My work remains focused on fine art with an emphasis on contemporary realism that is created in the spirit of old world craftsmanship. The inspiration comes from the maritime environment that I live in and the technique is classic egg tempera.

My work has been shown in both one-man shows and group exhibitions including the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, DE; Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD; Noyes Museum of Art in Atlantic City, NJ; Spartanburg Art Museum, Spartanburg, SC and the New Bedford Art Museum in New Bedford, MA. I was included in an international exhibit at the Maritime Museum in Mystic, Connecticut and I was a participant in a major national exhibit with the American Society of Marine Artists. I have been fortunate to have my illustration and fine art placed in private, institutional and corporate collections including the American Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. My work is included in the book "Contemporary American Marine Art" and was featured in Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine. I am proud to have won recognition from the American Institute of Architects for excellence in drawing along with numerous awards from other national juried art festivals.

As the obsession continues, I am hopeful that the future will hold still more interesting oportunities and adventures. Please check my website (www.toftstudio.com) for new work, existing limited edition prints and a current exhibition schedule.

   


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Artist
Artist Statement
RICHARD W. TOFT
Fine Art in Egg Tempera
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The creation of a painting or drawing  is a meditation allowing me to stay in a timeless moment. When I am working, I find myself apart from the distraction of the past and the uncertainty of the  future. It is an island of silence; an oasis that allows me to contemplate a world apart from my everyday reality. The sensory overload that is all to common is replaced with a calmness that allows me to see more holistically, to become energized and spiritually renewed. Hopefully, my finished work allows the observer to be witness to the process and in that moment of observation to share the experience of inner peace.

I live in a maritime environment and my inspiration is taken from that experience. My work is grounded in contemporary realism; however, my current interests also incorporates some of the principles of the aesthetic movement. I am working on a series of "Nocturnes" in which the subtle light of dusk or dawn is capable of creating a veil that transforms the ordinary into something more universal. There is a sense of mystery as the commonplace becomes more poetic. The compositions are very simple, the colors are reduced to complimentary harmonies and the paint is used in thin translucent layers.

The unique properties of egg tempera make it the perfect medium for me to explore the language of form and to express my emotions in that language. It is a medium grounded in the craftsmanship of painting. It is possible to layer and infinite number of glazes into a "weaving" that has a distinctive luminosity. Also, it is possible to create very intricate textures and the linear properties of the medium allow me to create the exacting detail that is characteristic of my work. The methodical cross-hatched brush strokes become part of the meditative process. They are also part of the archeology of the work that allows the viewer to enter into that process. Egg tempera slows me down and allows me to go beyond the impressions of the painting and into the "bones" of the subject.
Biography
I was born in Amsterdam, New York. Drawing became an intuitive comfort at an early age as I  struggled with being educated as a "southpaw" in a right-handed world. The description of "compulsive potential artist" used by my teachers during that time has been with me for my lifetime. Hopefully, "potential" will be dropped when the completed body is reviewed and my journey is completed.

My academic background is in environmental studies from Cornell University with graduate work in environmental design and landscape architecture from the University of Minnesota. I was introduced to the Beaux-Arts approach to architectural drawing that combined precision drawing with watercolor washes. At that time, I became fascinated with the work of the 19th century British watercolorists and they have had a lasting influence in my work. Over the years my preparation and experience evolved into a career as an environmental designer and freelance fine art illustrator.

Awards
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2014
Best in Show......................................................Port Warwick Art Festival............................Newport News, VA
First Place in Painting......................................Art on the Square...........................................Williamsburg, VA
Award of Excellence.........................................Gosport Art Festival......................................Portsmouth, VA
Award of Mert in Painting...............................An Occasion for the Arts..............................Williamsburg, VA


2013
Best in Category (Painting)............................Arts-Rockville.................................................Rockville, MD
Best in Show (Spring)......................................Stockley Garden Art Festival........................Norfolk, VA
Award of Excellence.........................................Seawall Art Festival.......................................Portsmouth, VA


2012
Ed Carson Memorial Award
(Excellence in Painting).................................Stockley Gardens Art Festival..........................Norfolk, VA
Best in Show....................................................Port Warwick Art Festival................................Newport News, VA
Best in Show.................................................. An Occasion for the Arts...................................Williamsburg, VA
Award of Excellence.......................................Bridgeton Festival of the Arts.........................Bridgeton, NC
Award of Excellence.......................................Boardwalk Art Festival.....................................Ocean City, NJ

2011
Best in Show....................................................Art on the Half Shell.........................................Urbanna, VA
Award of Distinction......................................Gosport Art Festival..........................................Portsmouth, VA
Juror's Award...................................................Rockville Art Festival.......................................Rockville, MD

2010
Best in Show.....................................................Artsfest...............................................................Annmarie  Garden, MD
Best in Show.....................................................Stockley Gardens Art Festival........................Norfolk, VA
Best of Category..............................................Atlanta Dogwood Fstival.................................Atlanta, GA
Award of Distinction.......................................Bonita Springs National Art Festival.............Bonita Springs, FL
Award of Excellence........................................Port Warwick Art Festival............................... Newport News, VA
First Place in Painting......................................Port Warwick Art Festival................................Newport News, VA
Third Place in Category...................................Coconut Grove Art Festival.............................Coconut Grove, FL
Third Place in Show.........................................Seawall Art Festival.......................................... Portsmouth, VA

2009
Best in Show..................................................... Boardwalk Art Festival.....................................Ocean City, NJ
Award of Distinction........................................Gosport Arts Festival........................................Portsmouth, VA
Ed Carson Memorial Award............................Stockley Gardens Art Festival.........................Norfolk, VA
First Place in Painting.......................................Port Warwick Arts Festival..............................Newport News, VA
Second Place in Show......................................Seawall Art Show...............................................Portsmouth, VA
Second Place in Category................................New Hope Arts Festival....................................New Hope, PA

2008
Award of Excellence..........................................Boardwalk Art Festival....................................Ocean City, NJ
Award of Distinction.........................................Bonital Springs National Art Festival...........Bonita Springs, FL

2007
Award of Excellence...........................................Boardwalk Art Festival...................................Ocean City, NJ
Award of Honor..................................................Boardwalk Art Festival....................................Virginia Beach, VA
Award of Excellence...........................................Neptune Art Festival.......................................Virginia Beach, VA
Award of Excellence...........................................Frederick Festival of the Arts.........................Frederick. MD

2006
Best in Show........................................................Marco Island National Art Festival..............Marco Island. FL
Award of Excellence............................................Mount Dora Art Festival...............................Mount Dora, FL
First Place in Paintung........................................Mystic Art Festival.........................................Mystic, CT
Honorable Mention.............................................Boardwalk Art Festival..................................Ocean City, NJ

2005 -  2000  available on request






2015
Best in Show......................................................Art in the Middle..........................................Urbanna, VA
First Place in Painting.......................................Port Warwick Art Festival...........................Newport News, VA
2016
Award of Merit in Painting................................Stockley Gardens Art Festival....................Norfolk, VA
Best in Painting...................................................Art in the Middle...........................................Urbanna, VA
2017
Best in Show.......................................................Art in the Middle...........................................Urbanna, VA