I've spent the largest part of my life as an oil painter, oftentimes following the ever-changing landscape of Kentucky. Over the years, I have noticed the altered face of the land and shifting of values both imaginary and real. ie: a place revisited may simply feel different or it may, in fact, be physically altered by weather, development, or time. I have seen that, many times, my paintings end up as a sort of historical documentation of a place—capturing a moment in time. Over the course of my life and my career as an artist, these observations have caused me to ponder more deeply and ask questions, nurturing an interest in the history of place and its people... which, of course, has affected my art. In more recent years, I have focused more intently on the history of Kentucky, particularly the 18th century.
As a painter, it is important to constantly challenge myself intellectually as well as artistically—to constantly question, learn, grow, and change, revealing a greater depth of meaning for my life and art. I believe that the varied subjects of my paintings reflect this process.
I am largely a self-taught artist although I don't fully embrace that description; the input from my siblings, artists, and friends who were and are artists has guided my art in countless ways. The well thought-out critiques, suggested reading, and living examples of their art has most certainly influenced me and always will. My medium is oil paint and I typically paint on cotton or linen canvas and masonite panels.
I spent most of my childhood in the Crescent Hill area of Louisville, with the magical Gothic style Louisville Water Company reservoir right behind the backyard and alley of my family's home. The Masonic home and its woods were my wilds and everything there and in between was the source of much childhood adventure and exploration. As a teen, I joined the military where I gained new experiences for the next ten years and that's where I first began to paint in earnest, with a few supplies I purchased from the PX. Afterward, I settled on land in Meade Co. KY where I lived alone for four years in a brand new way—with no running water or electricity. During that time I began to work full-time at painting and at gaining a deeper knowledge of myself and the land around me. I now live in the wooded knoblands of Marion Co. KY with my wife and our animals. We were drawn to the region because of the beauty of the landscape, its unique geography, and affordable land prices. We have an eclectic house which we built with our own hands and do our best to live in harmony with the environment around us and I will always continue to paint, carve, build, learn, and be.
—Mark A. Selter, 2023
|Mark A. Selter, June 6th (self portrait), 2019
oil on linen 11" x 14"