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Having grown up on Long Island, the waters of the Great South Bay have been a continuum in my life.

Attempting to capture nature through paint is an act of humility. It is a movement toward truth, which is simultaneously impossible and inevitable. Where I fail in capturing the perfection of a scene, I succeed in capturing all the nuance and imperfections of the self. The ocean is an echo of things felt, recalled, and realized, while bridges, rocks, and lighthouses stand as icons of ego and desire. Through paint, they are transubstantiated.

Though metaphor can be found in my work, the practice of making art is one of simplicity and discipline. It is important not to concentrate too much on concepts and theories. I show up each day and do my best to accurately capture the scene before me.

What I’m up to Now

My daughter was born recently, and I also bought a new home in Yaphank, NY. Most of my time is spent fixing up the house and spending time with my family.

I have a studio in the basement where I’m currently painting local scenes, landmarks, and lighthouses. For my most recent work, check out my instagram @jay_varney

I’m currently reading:

  • Fire Season, by Philip Connors
  • The Artistic Anatomy of Trees, by Rex Vicat Cole
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll