Foad Satterfield

Born: Orange, TX
Lives and works in Berkeley/Emeryville, CA
Telephone 510.457.5024


My experiential journey of becoming a professional artist began in 1973, when I committed myself to painting and established a studio in Emeryville. It was through my solo endeavors in my personal work space that I learned that making paintings is an ever-unfolding and expansive process; one that offers infinite possibilities for self-expression and limitless visual inventions.

Throughout the years, I have explored and incorporated ontological issues in my works and have been particularly drawn to the profundity and spiritual qualities of nature. I find that by just being still, quietly absorbing what I see, and looking lovingly into what is real, exquisite patterns and relationships of textures, colors, shapes, and planes jump out at me. It is in those moments that the substrate of nature’s delicate and complex interconnectivity begins to be revealed to me.

I take these impressions back to my studio and carefully consider how to share them artfully and authentically, contemplating the scale, tone, and vision I wish to create. I also ask myself the following: Is this concept compelling? Is it true for me? Does it represent who and what I am? Does this idea have transformative possibilities for my audience? How can it contribute to the environment where it will be placed? Lastly, does it provide a measure of delight by just looking at it? When these factors are aligned, I feel that my vision is ready to be conveyed.

I then communicate all that I’ve meditated on through a series of works on paper, which in turn become large paintings. I begin by focusing on the process - not on painting a finished object. It is the doing that generates the creative excitement and unexpected outcomes that seem fresh and unlabored, not a predetermined composition or predictable conceptual cliché.

Additionally, by focusing on making, the rules become simple for me as the artist: I make a mark, another, and do not question whether the marks are right or not. I simply trust myself, and remember my experience in nature. What moved me while being outside is exactly the same process happening in my studio at that very moment. As such, the material things I observed and my imagination merge, and by skillfully using my chosen tools of brush and paint, quite powerfully, the invisible becomes visible. Through this path—critical examination, reflection, visualization, initiation, application, gestation, and culmination—my paintings become objects capable of creating their own highly charged aesthetic atmosphere.

I scaffold my inquiry on elements of abstraction and Impressionist concepts. Nicolas DeSteal, Paul Cezanne, Joan Mitchell, and Oliver Jackson have pointed the way, while I remain mindful of cultivating my own sensibility. In this pursuit, I paint with determination and understand what the qualities are of a "thing well made." I have also found that knowledge and craft can be of great value if they are applied in a deliberately positive and constructive manner. I invite you to explore this website for examples of how all this understanding comes to fruition.