Monday, April 23, 2012

Evergreen and Red

This painting was a challenge. The original, self-inflicted challenge was to make a non-specific chunk of the landscape look interesting just by painting it well. I was not successful in doing that. The true day was overcast and the first swipe at this looked dull and flat. My new assignment then was, save the painting!
To save the painting, I manufactured drama by forcing the pretend sun out and moving the pretend atmosphere in. The desert has no humidity so very distant things, on a still day, can keep much of their color. On a windy day, there will be dust in the air, which will alter the distance visually but keep it in the warmer end of the spectrum. I pushed the distance back by cooling it, which is the effect produced by denser air. It's risky, messing with Mother Nature like this. I've long felt that to be honest, I must be ruthlessly true to my subject but I'm beginning to believe that, as an artist, the greater truth is told when one is true to oneself and to the work of art as a separate entity from its inspiration. 

Friday, April 20, 2012


I never posted a few of the paintings I wanted to show you from our plein air trip to New Mexico. I will do so now. This is one: a zig-zaggy view of the rugged landscape around the northern part of the state. I was laughing so hard on the road to this place, tempting fate as we were; our campsite was not too far away and we were exploring the vicinity in our little Mini Cooper. Not a great off-road vehicle, with it's really neato low-profile tires and ground-hugging stance. In my imagination, they would find our bones one day and say, "Too bad about the dead people but wow, cool car and really great painting!" I would not have died in vain.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Silent Symphony

I'm back from the 2012 Salon International and this was my first year to win nothing. I'm encouraged by the calibre of work there, however, and the overall commitment to excellence that I saw. My heart just soars when it settles on the knowledge that representational art is not lost to the ages but is enjoying such a resurgence.
Well, back to the present here at Scarlet Sage Gallery: Silent Symphony! This is a 24x18 inch painting. The title is supposed to summarize the idea that, while there are swirling, active, noisy things going on in the shapes and colors and patterns around her body and in her mind, yet the woman lies quietly; silent outside of herself, but within her mind there is music, dialogue, intrigue, excitement!
I approached the painting in the same way: layering the quiet passages so that they would culminate in activity that at once excites and relaxes, if that makes sense. I don't know if everyone hears a story that they read silently, but I do. When I'm alone and reading, if I suddenly respond out loud, my own noise startles me with the realization that it is actually silent everywhere but in my mind.
Well, thank you for coming back!