Every landscape oil painting that I create is a reflection on life. I paint to encourage the viewer to participate in the scene by reflecting on all aspects of life—what it is, what it isn’t, what it should be, etc. In my work, I explore life themes such as hope, love, death, overcoming obstacles, etc. Through my paintings, I want to help people bring greater focus and encouragement to their lives. To achieve this, I begin my own reflective process long before I blend my paint or put my brush to the canvas. The process begins when I explore nature with my camera in hand and capture images that have a strong contrast between light and dark tones, composition and interest. After taking hundreds of photographs, I select the ones that speak clearly about life. I am looking into the image for a life principle, application, or theme that will communicate well in the final painting. This period is where I do a lot of my own refection. It is at this point I select a title for the painting. Once a title is selected, I then begin designing the painting and working out the composition. Once this is completed, I then start applying the paint to the canvas. I am not totally tied to the exact representation of color. I want the color of the piece to coincide with the message of the painting and the title of the piece. For me, the theme drives the color, composition and even the brushstrokes I use in order to support a single idea.
Two observations immediately become apparent when people see a Dave Reiter painting. The first is that I leave the edges of the canvas unpainted, which is unusual for an oil painter. To some this may seem unfinished. But to me, it is all part of the visual impact and supports the message I am trying to convey. The second observation is that I intentionally apply the paint very thinly and in layers. I purposefully apply my paint in a unique way that pulls the viewer into a place of reflection. In life, it becomes too easy to walk past the flowers and the trees, the rivers and the waterfalls and totally miss the message they contain. My style grabs your attention and can even shake you up a little bit as it invites you into a reflection process.