Chris Ward

Christopher James Ward, born in New Castle, New Hampshire on October 17, 1968, is an American landscape and maritime painter. Ward is best known for the rich luminosity and detail of his work, and as M. Melissa Wolfe, a curator at the Columbus Museum of Art, writes, "Ward’s contribution to this genre is fresh and original, as equally enlivened by the boldness of a personal vision as it is unencumbered by expressions of indebtedness."

Dually, art and the sea have been formative elements in Ward's development. The summers that Ward spent in Cape Split, Maine were accompanied by the artistic pursuits of his mother, who was a local portrait painter following her studies at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Among his peers, Ward chose a path separate from that of standard academic training and at the age of seventeen he followed his instincts to pursue his craft through nature and experience. This confidence in personal vision and independent integrity contributed to the development of Ward's memorable and unmistakable artistic 'signature' and remain at the forefront of his work today.

Ward's paintings resonate his own independence through concept and method while simultaneously paying tribute to the maritime tradition he continues. Whereas dated merchant records, archived architectural documents, old photographs, and historic maps provide an exciting initial vision for Ward, it is his own experiences, feelings, and imagination of the locations and subjects that articulate the paintings from start to finish. "His works share an affinity with those artists who felt a deep sympathy for a specific place. Even more important, these artists are able to transfer onto canvas their understanding of the mystery, of the intangible powers, that drive the elemental world of these locations," writes M. Melissa Wolfe.

Ward captures his initial perspective on a location through his comprehensive painting method. Often he begins onsite, creating oil sketches to preserve both the natural atmosphere and mood of the place. Once completing the sketches, he turns to archival maps and historical documentation to create a finished drawing and begin the actual composition. The finished painting will maintain the freshness of his original inspiration while presenting a many layered, meticulously detailed piece of maritime history. The works embody Ward's simple desire to "create a power that viewers can connect with... to put myself into my paintings."

Currently, Ward splits his time between New Hampshire and the Washington, DC area with occasional travels to Alaska, London, and France. Although with the vast beauty that North America provides, Ward has elected in recent years to remain stateside and concentrate on the Eastern seaboard. As a twelfth generation native of New Castle, New Hampshire, Ward's commitment to preserving the beauty of the East Coast runs deep; he is an active outdoorsman as well as a New Hampshire wilderness guide.

On the Wind by Chris Ward
9 x 16 in.
oil on panel

click thumbnails below to enlarge

© 2007 Meridian Galleries LLC