While his paintings of landscapes may look conventional, Maris Platais' style is anything but.
"How do I start a painting?" he asked at the opening of his gallery show at Weston First Parish Church. "I start in the middle."
The self-described Latvian "peasant painter" showed off more than a dozen recent works a few Sundays ago, standing watch over his pieces as parishioners strolled through the gallery after morning services on Sept. 19.
Artist and former gallery director Mary Jo Rimes said she's known Platais for a long time. At the show opening, she was drawn to Platais' acrylic landscapes.
As she stared deeply into the canvas, she said to him, "You've drawn me in, so I have to make the decisions."
As he was leaving services, Bob Webb took his time walking through the gallery appreciating the new work. "They're all very realistic," he said. "Some of these artists today are so hard to understand, but [Platais] uses great colors."
"I like to think of success more in terms of excellence than perfection," said Platais as he stared into one of his works. "If your strokes can grab [the image], it's great."
Platais said that artists could either obsess with their works or know when to quit as sometimes quantity, and knowing when to move on, supersedes the nitpicking in an effort to create masterpieces.
With sea and landscape prints, acyclic paintings, sketching and etchings, Platais shows he can handle many mediums. For example, "The Garnett," a seascape, depicts a marina with multiple boats, all with natural, yet bold coloring and excellent perspective and composition. On the far left, apparently, is the same boat that went down in the film The Perfect Storm.
Platais finds pleasure in teaching art classes and instructing aspiring artists, and said it gives him constant fodder and inspiration for his work.
"At any given time, I have a dozen or so half completed canvasses at home," he said.
This exhibit was not the first time for some of the visitors to the opening, many of whom Platais recognized.
"We all get older, but our resemblances never change, " he said.
Bill Wrean has known of Platais' work for decades. "I love his work and he's very interesting," he said, "The things that's really interesting is his versatility."
Imogene Fish is a regular at the First Parish Church and appreciates the gallery. "The gallery has been a huge success here and it's added life to the parish," she said.
"I like how well [Platais] captures the wonderful conservation lands around the area."
The artwork of Maris Platais can be viewed and purchased at the Gallery at the First Parish Church until the end of October.