Date Night

David Starbuck


Date Night an acrylic on linen painting by David  Starbuck. The art measures 12" x 16" and the frame is 13 1/4" x 17 1/4", frame included.


Every four years the Cameron Art Museum, in Wilmington, North Carolina, features an exhibit called, State of the Art/Art of the State, where within a 24-hour period, contemporary artist come from all over the state, stand in long lines, bring a single work of art where a nationally renowned curator will be present to greet each artist, offer observations about their piece and officially enter the piece into the museum's exhibit. It was 2018 and by the time my turn came to meet with the curator, it was late in the evening, and coming to the end of a long day for the curator. It was apparent that he was visibly exhausted. As I handed him my painting, "Date Night," a 16"x12" original acrylic on linen, a pair of Painted Buntings nestled in the bows of a long leaf pine, he looked down at the painting, and quickly responded with, "I have never seen before anyone paint emotion in animals". He then turned, handed the piece to an assistant, and we were done. Driving away, I remember telling my wife just how confused and let down I was with the experience. I was completely discounting the comments from the curator, thinking, "that's it, painting emotion in animals?" The next few days went by, and his words would not go away, and what began as a point of frustration turned into a true aha moment. He was right, painting emotion in wildlife is exactly what I do. It is exactly why I want to get the eyes just right, the head and posture positioned correctly, and a background that will capture action and movement, all setting the stage of the story being told. This is why I spend as much time in the field as I do in the studio, always looking for ways to experience those up-close moments that capture the emotion of our neighbors that live in the wild. It is the foundation for the story within each painting. This is truly what I love doing - telling their story through the lens of my canvas.


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