Richard Mattsson began painting and drawing from direct observation in the early 80s after twenty five years of working more or less abstractly and primarily from imagination. His early schooling at the Minneapolis School of Art in the late fifties was largely influenced by the psychological and existential forces that surrounded abstract expressionist thinking. He attended the Minneapolis School of Art immediately following U.S Army service in Japan where he was first introduced to Buddhist thought and Asian culture in general. He has only recently come to realize how those early experiences have unconsciously informed his process. Painting has become a form of present and discovery oriented meditative practice.
Initially, Mattsson's choice of subject matter was intuitive. He began to paint what he saw before him with no predetermined attitude toward the outcome other than it had to feel right. While he doesn't subscribe to any "isms," he does consider himself to be a formalist with an interest in pattern, color and expressive composition. He tries to appropriately respond to the circumstances of his experience in a manner balanced between external and internal observation. The place or situation of landscape appeals to Mattsson particularly because it is an ever changing unpredictable event. Painting, listening, dancing, and gardening are all exciting influences in that they all require that he surrenders to the forces of life that play in the moment.