Block title

Work Samples

Luke Paper Mill, Piedmont, WV .jpg

36"x48" oil on canvas

395 N Baltimore

40"x66" oil on linen

Golden Gate

40"x60" oil on linen

Clarysville Overpass

24"x36" oil on linen


About Duane

Baltimore County

Duane Lutsko's picture
Duane was born in Texas, grew up in California, and lived in New York City and Florence, Italy prior to moving to Maryland in 1988. He was fortunate to have a mentor in his high school art teacher, Robert Worthington, who challenged Duane to develop himself through rigorous drawing, painting, and the study of art history. Worthington opened the door to understanding that creative life is a thread into the many domains that link achievement to humanity and self-actualization, Creating and experiencing... more


The highway is etched into the collective conscious of the American culture. We love our cars and the road is, alternately, the venue for journey and the drudgery attached to routine commuting. Time spent on the road can be a distraction, a nuisance, or a window onto our sense of place in the landscape.
Even when most banal, the rhythm of movement through time and space creates drama. The highway provides an opportunity to paint the unseen, the unnoticed vista marred by the detritus of concrete and asphalt that attends to the world we see every day and rarely look at.


Mills, power plants, and aggregate manufacturing remain the backbone of American industry and the soft underbelly of environmental malfeasance. Processing mills, coal burning plants, and cement works present a complex of structures and hardware that litter the American landscape with reminders of the fragile balance underpinning ecosystems. They are the product of progress and pivotal to much of the controversy surrounding renewable energy subsidies. Their influence remains stamped on the terrain and reflects the paradoxical relationship man has to his environment.


As a landscape painter I remain attahced to the evidence of human presence, searching, discovering, and fumbling its way into and upon the natural environment. It provides a touchstone and scale to the work.


Painting is a process of renewal, of seeing with one’s own eyes. When it succeeds, you’ve managed to invite the audience into an intimate event where they too experience seeing as something fresh, as if for the first time.
I take great comfort in knowing that landscape painting is a link to art that rides a rail back thousands of years and that still resonates as a vehicle for developing a vision and speaking to a contemporary audience.

Heavy Vehicles

Corot painted women in landscape as a metaphor: woman is landscape. Our epoch calls for a renewed metaphor, vehicle is landscape. Heavy vehicles shape, move, and shift the landscape and contribute to the dilemma of co-existing with earth. I paint the forms and rhythms of metal, tires, and glass, structured by light, caked in dirt, and folded into landscape.


Farming represents a vestige of our agrarian past. There is a romantic nostalgia we harbor for working the land that distorts the truly difficult lifestyle the vocation shoulders. Farmers share a characteristic that the writer Cheryl Strayed attributed to the miner: Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig. A farmer’s job is never done. Painters have the same sense of perseverance: just paint.
I have no nostalgia for old tractors, nor reverence for pigs. I simply enjoy painting the colors I see in flesh, metal, and wood that, when coupled to the myriad values and hues of earth and vegetation, create a composite whole. Tractor is landscape, pig is flesh.


My foray into large scale landscape painting begins with construction imagery. Construction is a form of earth art that, coupled with engineering becomes much more than blight. On site the pungent smell of soil and organic matter ripped open and oxygenated is overwhelming.

Dirt - so many hues and tones of brown, so many layers into the crust. It impels the painter to develop layers, thin on thick and thick over thin - no rules, just dirt.

For me, construction imagery is the clinic into painting and learning to see with one’s own eyes. Juxtaposing machinery on the landscape provides a focus on the light and creates scale within the composition. Creating the foil of a lone tree or telephone pole forces the viewer to look around and see into the composition. And dirt, who doesn’t want to play in the dirt.


Portraiture is the architecture of painting: everything has to be correct. You cannot fake a portrait, if the nose is wrong, it’s wrong. Portraiture embraces the paradox of linking the definitive to the indefinable, the rational to the emotional. It is the synthesis of opposites that are embedded in the character of your subject. When Gertrude Stein first saw her 1906 portrait that Picasso painted she remarked that it didn’t look like her. Picasso replied: it will.


The figure, painting the nude, remains a dilemma. Painting is the messy business of working, refining, destroying, and rediscovering. The layers of media reveal the depth of meaning. The tradition of art is linked to the meaning-making capacity of the brain and the constructivist understanding of an audience to create narrative.  The medium oil painting was born of the need to envision flesh beyond the limitations of tempera and fresco. That is what I am looking for.


My father, a Marine Corps fighter pilot, instilled in me a love of flying. I hold a current, FAA pilot license, am co-owner of a Piper Archer II, and have logged 500 hours. Painting and aviation are both portals into the zone. Both provide those moments when you loose track of time, you become fully engrossed in the act, and all you want is to be there all the time.