D aniel Ambrose was born in a small seaside town in Florida, and raised on well water in a house his father built on a rural dirt road. In those day’s, before air conditioning, internet and cell phones, Daniel read adventure stories and roamed the outdoors from sunup to sundown, igniting and nurturing his imagination. Long days exploring the seashore and exotic Florida woodlands, instilled in Daniel a deep love for nature, and a lifetime desire to express his passion for her in paint.
Naturally talented, sans a formal art education, Ambrose has been working in egg tempera for almost thirty years. Learning the Renaissance technique of the Old Masters from a translation of a 15th-century Italian handbook of painting methods that he discovered in a vintage bookstore.
Egg tempera is a slow, meditative process. Ambrose makes his own paint from a 15th century Italian recipe using natural earth pigments and egg yolks. His technique involves a subtle layering process. When asked how long it takes to paint a tempera. Daniel replies, “honestly, each painting takes its own time, I never force it and often set a painting aside. A painting can take months or even years — I always have a string of them going.”
To relieve the intense concentration a tempera demands, Ambrose also works in oil, painting plein air studies to gather sensory information which he use as reference for his exquisite egg tempera and major studio oil paintings. Painting plein air, and constantly drawing in his sketchbook are Daniel’s primary means of keeping motivated and inspired. “With no formal training, this is natural to me and the way I have always worked.”
“I paint because I am in love with life. I paint out of gratitude, a way to show my respect and honor this beautiful gift of life. Painting in egg tempera, weaving thin translucent layers of paint into subtle, rich tapestries of color, becomes for me a metaphor of geological layers and complex human emotions. Egg is fragile, like life, a reminder of the fleeting moments that I seek to preserve in paint. Painting for me is a meditative process of understanding— a spiritual approach to life.”
Throughout his career, Ambrose has garnered acclaim for his work which resides in art collections worldwide. Indeed, his art journey’s have taken him far from his childhood on a back road in Florida. Throughout his life, Daniel’s early love for the outdoors has remained, and like any true love, has only grown deeper with the passing of time. These day’s, when not in his studio, still finds Daniel wandering coastal shores, drawing in his sketchbook or painting, seeking inspiration for his next hauntingly beautiful painting.