Monday, January 30, 2012

A Tah-Dah and The Next Big Thing

This one?

This past Sunday marked the 1-year anniversary of this blog. Yay. Wow. It’s been a year. I hope you have enjoyed my art and stories as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing them. Thank you to everyone who encouraged me. And thanks to Clint who patiently waited for dinner while I obsessively “got my post up” for the week (well, most weeks).

What’s next?

Well, this year, in addition to ongoing adventures in art, I want to set up a link to a storefront where you can buy prints of my work online. Yikes. It’s in writing now, so I guess I have to follow through on this. This step is easier said than done. Starting the blog was a piece of cake. It’s far easier to blather on about art than it is to set up a shopping cart and the logistics of my offering. 

Or this one?
In fact, I had intended to make put this post up on Sunday, but I ended up spending the entire afternoon trying to figure out the new archival-ink printer. It’s one of those helpful models that makes printing “EZ”, but the reality—it’s darn near impossible to print something outside of the pre-sets. Maybe if they spelled easy correctly that wouldn’t be the case. I’m always a little leery of things that claim to be EZ. Despite that, I’m making progress. So, untangling the process of getting prints up online is what I’ll be working on in between paintings.

Or maybe this one?

Here’s where you can help. 

Tell me which pieces you like best. Not everyone has the same taste, but there will be some pieces that are more popular than others. I’d hate to waste that expensive paper on something no one likes. Choose as many as you like (oh please say you like at least one) to help point me in the right reproductive direction. Feel free to tell me your choices by making a comment on the blog, sending me an e-mail, or shooting an arrow into the front door with a message tied to it, whatever works for you.

Thanks! Now back to that painting of the sycamore I started…

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sunrise on the Meadow

Sunrise on the Meadow
20" X 16"
Acrylic on Canvas

Just before dawn, we woke to the yips and snarls of the coyotes. We tried to go back to sleep, but it was no use. The sky was beginning to lighten, so we shuffled into our jeans and crawled out of the tent.

Mmmm. Tea around the morning fire, waiting for the next batch of water to boil to bring our breakfasts alive. Our campsite sat in a bowl shadowed by a ridge of rock. It took a long time for the sun to peek over the edge of the Domeland.

And when it did, the world went from cool blues and greens and grays to a riot of color. Gold light streaming through the breaks in the clouds first lit the tips of the trees guarding the meadow and then the far ridge tops. The liquid light slid down as the sun slid up, igniting the day.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Getting There

I am transported when I paint. There are two activities going on in my head as I push and dab and smear the paint around on the canvas. One is a running patter about technique and that's too red, this shape is too thick, yes, that's the right value, I need another glaze of blue...

The other is the sensory equivalent to being there. I'm standing on that ridge, my cheeks cold in the pre-dawn air, I smell the campfire, and listen to the ravens calling, "Good morning".

I escape. I've done this since I was about 13, when I would recoil into my room from a world that was nothing like the books, magazines, or television shows. Teenage-dom for me, like a lot of people, was no picnic. One of my escapes was painting. I devoured National Geographic magazines for subject matter, and I'd go to those places when I painted them.

When I was fifteen, a magical thing happened that changed my life. My uncle and aunt arranged a summer job for me in Yosemite. It was like going to heaven for 3 months. When I'd leave, all I could think about was when I was there—and when I was going back. Going home. That’s how I thought of it. In between those summers, the out-of-body travel became more a more frequent occurrence. I retracted like a raw nerve from my surroundings. I had three glorious summers there that got me through high school, kept me from jumping off a roof.

For some reason, when I was working on this image from Domeland it made me think about that time in my life. There was one painting in particular I remember that I worked on for a long time—until it was perfect. It was a beautiful, gnarled tree, stark against an electric blue sky. After each painting session, it was as though I slowly awakened from a vivid dream. Then it struck me why this memory came to the surface: the tree in that painting looked like many of the weathered trees in Domeland.

Painting isn't just about getting there in terms of finishing a piece, it’s also the way I mentally and emotionally return to the source of my inspiration: the wild places, the places I love best.

Now for the update on the painting: I'm getting there, in fact I'm really close. I just need to make the foreground become the same place as the background. The warmth of the sun peeking over the ridge and the light on the grassy hill rolling down into the meadow is not quite where I want it to be.

If the art gods smile down on me, this weekend I'll finish it and start another piece. What next? Maybe back to making monoprints...I have an image of a sinuous sycamore that's been hanging out in my head.

PS. This is my fiftieth blog post. Yay me.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Return to Domeland

It’s time to go back to Domeland. The wilderness area no one’s heard of tucked between places that sound vaguely familiar. I have to dig deep to recall exactly where it is...somewhere near Brigadoon, I think.

What I do remember is its beauty and wildness—and the fun we had—the four amigos. I still laugh remembering as one of our hiking party—who shall remain nameless—high stepped like a cartoon character, legs-a-spinning as he hightailed it down the trail away from a very pissed off rattlesnake who’s sunning was disturbed. Funny? Yes, if you weren’t the one running.

Domeland feels like a secret place where somehow you’ve been lucky enough to gain entrance. You can hear yourself breathe there and feel the spirit of the place—its trees, rocks, and wildlife.

From a painter's perspective, the Domeland is a Maxfield Parrish painting. It’s saturated and oozing and dripping with color and contrast.

So, what to paint next? I had one more of those special canvases I fell in love with and an image of the sun first lighting the meadow—the perfect subject. I broke out the new brushes and acrylics, in hopes of achieving rich and brilliant color pushed to the point of surreal—just like I like it!

This painting is early in the process, not much more than an underpainting—so together we’ll see where this goes.