Chris Hayward cultivated his artistic viewpoint early in life through the influences of his close-knit family. His father was a landscaper from the northwest region of New York north of Utica who often brought Chris with him on his weekend jobs. This early experience, says Hayward, "gave me an understanding and an eye for transforming natural elements in our local environments, in such a way, as to help improve those homes and their surroundings." His mother was a teacher who spent her free time creating incredible wildflower arrangements for family and friends. These influences gave him a deep respect for the beauty and inherent design of nature and helped direct him toward his decision to paint.
Hayward began drawing seriously during high school and, although he set off to college at SUNY to major in environmental studies, his first love was always art. He would spend his free time drawing and, whenever he got a chance especially in the spring and summer, would head of to the Adirondacks to draw the local wildflowers, eventually working in pastel and acrylic.
Mr. Hayward incorporates distinctive texture and layers of color using a palette knife, rich textured paint, as well a sand texture, which he mixes into the paint giving it an earthy feeling, almost as if he is recreating the flowers themselves onto canvas. His backgrounds are multi-layers of color which seem take on an intense luminosity. Some people see the influences of the Impressionists, Monet and Manet in his work, although Hayward says his favorite artist is Van Gogh and his favorite painting, Van Gogh's "Vase with Anemone." But Hayward himself is not interested in labels. Instead he describes his work as a reincarnation of his childhood when he watched his mother in their sunroom creating, with her warmth and gentle spirit, the most original and colorful wildflower bouquets.
Mr. Hayward continues to live and in work in upstate New York.