March 12th, Upper West welcomes Thomas Mercer Hartman:

by Tina Lynch

On Sunday, March 12th, “Explorations” opens at Upper West Restaurant. The solo exhibition will feature the paintings of Thomas Mercer Hartman. Much of his recent work is focused on exploring depth and light in his paintings. Hartman discussed his inspiration for his works, “The background for Puddle Jumper was a rippled watery surface that is now barely visible. A gradient of yellow before over-painting blues and greens. The piece has a backlit quality with a deep background. The top surface almost looks like water on glass.”

Hartman is looking forward to exhibiting fourteen of his recent paintings at Upper West Restaurant in Santa Monica. He has been a fan of the restaurant for several years. “It’s special venue, a large open bar, high vaulted bow-truss ceiling, great light and an intimate quality.” The restaurant mounts an art show every three to four months and celebrates each opening with an artist reception.

Hartman recounted the evolution of another work in the exhibit. He created a few abstract studies prior to starting Over Somewhere. “The studies experimented with allowing a brighter background reveal itself between vertical columns of color. Scraping across the columns with additional color allowed for parts of the background to be revealed.” His work on the larger canvas started with painting a gradient of two colors that merge. Additional layers of gestural plaster and caulking created a working surface. The surface was then lightly sprayed with two colors of lacquer. Vertical ‘columns’ of black roofing compound mixed with paint were added. As the scheme emerged it began to form a landscape quality. He soon found that the columns became a torrent of trees. “Without painting from nature or using references I painted a memory – more of a feeling – from a place in my childhood.”

For additional information about the artwork of Thomas Mercer Hartman, visit his website at For additional information about IQ Magic’ his Santa Monica design firm, see

The opening reception for the artist will take place on Sunday March 12th from 4-7pm at Upper West Restaurant. Stop in to meet the artist and enjoy the paintings of Thomas Mercer Hartman. Upper West is located at 3321 Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica. Call the restaurant for info at 310 586-1111 or visit the website

%d bloggers like this: