As we enter a new year, I am doing some reflecting. I have had the privilege to work as a painter for over 20 years now and it is an exciting adventure to facilitate the creation of images. Throughout the year, pictures materialize from all corners of the land of inspiration! Like children, each one has a creative process that is all their own. Here, I have gathered a group of paintings from 2013 that are favorites of mine, not because they are the ‘best’ ones, but because they taught me something important.
One of the greatest joys of being a landscape painter is the opportunity to work in spectacularly beautiful places. Here I had found a perch over the cascading outlet of Taggart Lake. I focused on trying to capture the movement of the water as it bubbled over granite boulders. I would take breaks from painting to feast on wild raspberries and thimbleberries! Painting the natural world is a humbling honor and ultimately my song of appreciation for such an opportunity.
Outpouring | 16 x 12 | oil
Ideally, I want my work to become more abstract, and since reflections are inherently abstracted versions of whatever they are reflecting, I was particularly excited to try painting this moose! Notice that only a small portion of the image is realistically painted. The remaining ¾ is either simplified or abstract. Inspired by the broken color of the impressionists and the energetic brushwork of the abstract expressionists, the water is a play of texture, color and the dripping of paint as it flows and dries.
There is a saying in painting- “Composition and value do all the work. Color and subject matter get all the credit.” I was inspired to paint this image because of the arched shape a horse makes with its neck and head. Indeed, horses make a beautiful subject matter, but their form is created with a series of light and dark values. There is very limited color in this painting-most of it is shades of white. The darks are occasional remarks that carry the eye through the painting.
The image to the immediate right was one of the last ones I did in 2013. I was hoping to capture the brief moments of sunrise on a side channel of the Snake River. There is very limited color – just light and dark values applied in many, many layers. I started by laying in the darks of the trees, then I progressively added lights. I am interested in continuing the play of light in the new year.
These other images challenge me to inquire: how can I further simplify an image to just depict the essence? How can I get out of the way and allow for more mystery to come through? It is a new year! And I revisit the same questions….again.