Don Estes works with grand, assured gestures on canvases that miter underneath the painting surface, assuring that his works have a sculptural presence on the wall. That tactic and other craftsman marks come from the many years when his primary work was making high-end home furnishings. His marks are assured and repetitive, made in a way that seems highly processed and assured.
His paintings have their basis in landscape forms, particularly the long horizontal streaks that reference land stratums, and the overlays of marks that look like aerial land photography. Estes works on raw canvas --staining sections with paints, then adding flat layers of contrasting paint, later splattering thick oily globs, and sometimes a drawing a thick line meandering over the composition.
The balance he seeks is harmony between color, forms, brushstrokes and textures. Some of his marks are very purposely laid down on the canvas, others are completely chance marks, and some are made purely in reaction to marks that were made earlier in the composition. Like a musician, he is rifting or jamming to create a visually meaningful and enticing whole.