David Skillicorn
New Salem, Massachusetts

David Skillicorn's evocative atmospheric abstract oil paintings are a reflection of the natural world. His Adagio series is named after the musical term, which instructs players to perform slowly, gracefully, and with ease. It is those sensibilities which Skillicorn hopes to convey in this work. In the spirit of Mark Rothko and Agnes Martin, Skillicorn strives to create something authentic, at once sensitive and meditative, yet resonate and contemporary. His paintings are not literal landscapes per se, but rather rich atmospheric explorations, often evoking the sea and the horizon. Skillicorn’s studio practice is a combination of instinct, intuition, and spontaneous expression, carefully balanced by years of technical training and continual editing as a painting takes shape. After attaching folds of fabric to canvas, each painting is meticulously layered with up to fifty glazes of oil paint, often hand rubbed in, to create a deep luminous finish. Each work finally emerges, sometimes after many months, with its own particular atmospheric mood. In the end, Skillicorn hopes these paintings convey something that is not so much experienced with the mind, as felt with the body in an intimate, visceral, and contemplative way.

Artist and Customer Comments

David Skillicorn 7/21/2016 | 2:23 PM

Happy to announce that my large painting Motet, 60" x 60", has been selected into the annual juried show at Galatea Fine Art in Boston, curated by Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for Boston. Show will be up August 3 - 28, with an opening reception on August 5th from 6-8pm.

David Skillicorn 6/29/2016 | 4:53 PM

Pleased to have one of my larger paintings, (Memory I, 60" x 60"), included in the national juried show "Patterns", at the Attleboro Arts Museum for the month of July. Also very pleased that they placed the painting very prominently on it's own wall, facing the Museum's main window to the outside.... in a way having my work represent the show to the outside world. Very nice and much appreciated. Some pictures on my web site,

David Skillicorn 9/26/2015 | 4:48 PM

Very nice interview and critique of my work out in the paper this week, along with a wonderful short video showing me at work in my studio which they've put up wiht the article on their web site. Hope you get a chance to read it and see it:

David Skillicorn 9/26/2015 | 4:45 PM

Pleased to announce that about ten of my paintings, and a long review are included in volume VI of the contemporary arts magazine Inspirational, out September 2015. Here is a link to their site:

David Skillicorn 9/26/2015 | 4:42 PM

Opening reception tonight (9/26/15) at the Zullo Gallery south of Boston in Medfield MA for the 21st annual Juried Exhibition. My painting della terra XIV is included in the show, which will run through November 7th. If you're in the area, I hope you can stop by.

Adagio XXIV

Oil painting on stretched canvas
Signed on front

30" h x 30" w x 1.5" d
5 lbs. 0 oz.


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Artwork Details

Comments About This Piece

Adagio: slowly, gracefully, with ease.

After attaching folds of fabric to canvas, each painting is meticulously layered with up to fifty glazes of oil paint, often hand-rubbed in, to create a deep luminous finish. My intent is to create subtle, resonate, atmospheric moods in this work. 

Adagio, the musical direction for players to perform slowly, gracefully, with ease, is the spirit in which these paintings have been created, and might also suggest an approach to experiencing them as well.

This piece is on a gallery wrapped canvas with finished edges. It comes ready to hang. 

Oil painting

Oil paint uses natural oils, such as linseed, poppy and walnut oil to bind the pigments. Oils are slow to dry, which allows the artist to rework the painting to achieve the desired effect. Also, they blend easily, which helps to achieve certain colors. With the rise of naturalism in 15th century Early Netherlandish painting, oil paints became preferred to quick drying tempera paint. Artists wanted a medium that would allow them to achieve detailed and precise effects in their paintings. Consider all of the detail in the masterpieces of Jan van Eyck and Hieronymus Bosch!

Stretched canvas

Canvas is a heavy-duty fabric used as a painting surface. When a canvas artwork is labeled stretched, it means the canvas has been wrapped around a wooden frame (the ''stretcher''). Stretched canvases typically do not require framing.


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