Early Stained Paintings
Val Lewton arrived in Washington, DC in the early sixties when the Color School was pre-dominant. He formerly had established himself as an abstract painter, but was searching for a new identity. While in Claremont Graduate School in California, Lewton was exposed to the West Coast sensibility of light-infused landscapes. He credits Roger Kuntz, a painter of California's new suburbs, freeways and cars, as having a strong influence on him. Once settled on the East Coast, he experimented with staining canvas, wielding painterly strokes on canvas with watered down acrylics. He melded this inventive handling of canvas and acrylic with the new ideas of the West Coast. Subject matter such as cars, traffic, and suburban real estate helped to distinguish his art from the abstract world of painting in DC at the time, and would continue to form the foundation of the painting he would eventually develop.