Who knew that alleyways could be so beautiful? Today, Dale Knaak shows us the intriguing side of these often overlooked passages with his beautiful acrylic paintings.
Currently living in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Dale has put his commercial art degree to good use. He maintains a full-time art studio while dividing his time between commissioned work, commercial mural projects and his own personal paintings.
Though his collection includes people, still lifes, and larger than life landscapes, I was drawn to his recent alleyway series. The inspiration for these alley paintings evolved from his daily bicycle treks.
Always looking for new ways to travel to and from his studio, Dale began exploring alternate routes. He quickly became fascinated with these unseen areas and transformed them into a lovely collection of paintings.
Dale creates compositions that lure and encourage the viewer to lean in for a closer look. I am captivated both by where the path leads and what surrounds it. In the image below the path is interesting in itself. The large blocks of cracked concrete against the fallen leaves and grass result in a beautiful contrast of fine and coarse texture.
Dale’s paths are not all the same. Some are paved with large slabs full of minute cracks, others are just dirt strips like the painting below, where the path itself sets the scene and begins to tell a story about this everyday landscape.
Knaak also captures the delicate nuances of light and shadow, adding the element of time.
Dale describes an alleyway as the “neighborhood headquarters.”
It’s the place where neighbor kids gather to play kick the can, basketball, or race bikes. I can imagine these games taking place in the scene below. The camper is a great place to bounce off a ball, and aesthetically, it’s the perfect focal point for this painting.
I invite you to visit Dale’s website where he reveals “the often seen, but rarely noticed view of the other side of our neighborhoods.” And if you’re interested in his larger than life paintings, check out his murals at www.knaakmurals.com.
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