Polson, Paul

Community: Poulsbo
Phone: 360-394-3512
Mail: PO Box 1871, Poulsbo, WA 98370
Email: paulp@embarqmail.com
Website: www.paulpolson.com
Media: painting

Past exhibits and events with Northwind

2017 Showcase artist (click to see all 2017 artists)

2017 Wind & Water | 2016 Showcase artist, Expressions Northwest, Radical Change

Artist Statement

The relationship with my art started at an early age. I have the same motivation and obsessiveness as I did then. I didn’t think of where I might show or how I might sell. Producing art has always been loving the process. Like a scientist in a laboratory, I painted with a purpose to grow, delve into my mind and experiment with my medium.

I am a firm believer of studying the masters as well as works by other artists. It is important to draw and paint from life, both the figure and landscape. Learning old disciplines and techniques, as well as newly developed works of art, add greatly to your toolbox. To ignore this only weakens your foundation.

Controlling a painting from beginning to end leaves me unsatisfied and sapped of energy. I believe it is essential to allow the work to have half the control, so the procedure and direction is constantly changing. This gives life to the painting and becomes a relationship, not unlike human relationships. Too much control will destroy it. To allow a “give and take” experience makes it a living thing. I don’t know if this other energy I am relating to is the universe, God, or another entity. All I know is that it keeps the movement of the painting alive. It makes the process enjoyable and the outcome much more exciting. When finished, it becomes a joy to look at and ponder as if I have sired an offspring with a life and direction of it’s own. It also acts as a mirror. It becomes a diary of my life experiences and thoughts that I lay bare to the world.

The beginning of a painting begins with an overall idea filled with images, shapes and color – with a subject matter that could change during the process. I lay the canvas on the floor and attack it with spontaneous brush strokes, splatters and washes. I then use a large rag to blot in random shapes and textures. When this dries to the point of not dripping, I place it on the easel or wall and sit back to contemplate the images and shapes. Some of these I controlled, but most are images that I was not expecting. I sketch in shapes that I want in the painting and allow the images I am drawn to (that appeared accidently) to remain. I might even define these images and give them a controlling element in the work and outcome. From here, I apply paint, some in layers – some areas left with the original wash. These two aspects of my technique, along with the imagery, define my work.


Paul Polson was born and raised in Wyoming and was a prolific drawer and painter in his younger years. He had a summer job doing watercolor portraits on the Las Vegas Strip and attended the University of Wyoming during the school year. After receiving his BA in art education, Paul moved to San Diego and focused on studio painting. Finding a ballroom in the Gaslamp District, he threw his bed on the floor and painted large canvases for fifteen years. During this time he was involved in several one man and group shows. He organized figure drawing classes and did graduate work at San Diego State and UCSD.

Paul painted smaller landscapes on a regular basis. This included a three-month solo trip to Europe where he visited the major museums and painted watercolors. In 1988 he moved to Pioneer Square in Seattle and painted in a warehouse for three years before moving to Poulsbo, WA, where he continues to paint. He also designed and fabricated inflatable sculpture and scenic sets for Cirque du Soleil and Radio city as well as a traveling set for the Broadway production of “CATS”. As of late, Paul has focused on just his oil paintings – For the last four years, Paul has been asked to be a guest lecturer at the University of Washington, The Northwest College of art, The Northwind Art Center in Port Townsend and The West Sound Academy in Poulsbo.

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