Sunday, January 27, 2019

Marsh Forest

                                           Marsh Forest Study watercolor on Yupo 8.5x11

 I want to thank all of you who told me what we should discuss when I teach next weekend. My first thought was to emphasize technique but  I heard that I should address color choice, emotion and the landscape and selecting personal subjects. So I`ve been thinking. Of course this is the stuff that never is verbalized by me even to myself. I know instinctively what to draw or photograph when I`m out in nature. Now I`m figuring out how to talk about it. It`s uncomfortable. There is a yearning quality in my response to nature that I don`t understand. Beyond Romanticism. I find ephemeral scenes lit temporarily in a poetic manner and I`ll take a picture. If what I`m seeing is really striking, I`ll remember it too. Then I begin painting but it`s more like an excavation, subtracting to find my painting. This is better shown than explained.

                                             Cape Arago watercolor on Terraskin 14x11

 From my time in Coos Bay a couple of years ago. That eroded coast would provide a lifetime of subjects if I lived near. Without bias, the Oregon Coast is the most astonishing, compact, jewel like series of landscapes, one after another. And it`s never crowded other than Cannon Beach. If I lived in the interior of the US again, I would come here to this coast to be by this sea. Not Hawaii or Mexico or Greece. There is a wild, interactive relationship between the water, sky and land that`s palpable.

                                                          unfinished marsh

 I should have left it alone but it wasn`t finished. I thought last night.
Now this no longer exists but that`s ok.
If there is time in my workshop I`ll demonstrate a do or die effort to rescue something that`s ruined. Good things can happen if there is nothing to lose. I once said to Don Gray that all my paintings were better 20 minutes before I finally stopped. He said that`s true for all artists. We keep pushing for more clarity until we go too far and then backtrack as best we can.

                                             man in motion by Eadweard Muybridge

 Eadweard Muybridge was a bookseller until he cracked his head in an accident and became a determined innovator of photography. It appears that brain damage can unleash tremendous creative potential. This article in the BBC explains how even dementia can unlock hidden talents.
It does not mention if the poor high school football players with concussions become more creative. I wish it would have included this kind of trauma.

Igor Mosiychuk, have you heard of him? I sure hadn`t but apparently he`s quite well known in his own country, Ukraine. He`s a watercolor wizard unlike any other;

                                                            by Igor Mosiychuk

                                                                by Igor Mosiychuk

                                                                  by Igor Mosiychuk

                                                                      by Igor Mosiychuk

 Yes, they have a traditional sensibility but who cares? They are so dense with lyrical color and mood.
If you have an extra hour or so you can watch him demonstrate here.

                                            Oaks at Brandy Creek watercolor on Yupo 12x9

 For the first time in my 25 years in the Pacific Northwest, winter is bugging me. It`s too cold. Usually I`m head cheerleader for all things gloomy and wet but not this year. Now I don`t want sunshine mind you, that low angle light is blinding this time of year but a warm breeze would be nice. Here`s to Spring and its gentle promise.

Goodbye Mary Oliver, thank you!

updated webpage

work for sale in my studio

prints on Fine Art America


Libby Fife said...


I think if you mention that yearning quality of nature that attracts you to certain scenes, that many of your students would relate.It's that ineffable quality of the landscape that one is after, I think, when trying to make something. I know you will do well though, regardless of what information you impart, and your students will come away with something.

Overwork a piece at your own peril!

Thank you for the post,
PS-I like those watercolors, especially the last one with the birds. There is something about it.

RH Carpenter said...

You’ve introduced me to another artist I’d not heard about - powerful stuff. And your works are always a pleasure for my eyes and soul. I really think you should include that paragraph about how the scenery there in Oregon resonates with you and how you have to try to capture the feeling of it - people can learn techniques without ever gettting beyond that = great technique. But getting the soul of the art to shine through and speak to others: that’s the real mark of an artist. The art is in your mind’s eye before it’s ever put on paper (we both could stand in the same spot looking at the same scene and I would not see those pinks and greens that you see and use in your work; I haven’t gotten to that stage yet). I know everyone who comes to your talk will walk away with some good stuff to help them in their own journey and I wish I could be there.

E.M. Corsa said...

Oaks at Brandy Creek sends a thrill through my bones as a promise of what's around the corner. That could be a spot at Alligator River. LOVE it. And I have to tell you, the unfinished marsh painting is lovely, but I too have been there, making something disappear.

I always leave your blog feeling inspired. Thanks for that.

Maureen said...

Wow, those watercolors by Mosiychuk.

Lorrie Mcclanahan said...

In Cape Arago, the areas of intense activity along the top of the cliff and on the beach are offset by quieter passages. This is a metaphor for our minds: constantly seeking stimulation, but sanest in silence. That you include both in your painting (and create a clever composition in the process) contributes to that yearning you speak of. Looking, looking, noting the details—but wanting most a gestalt experience. Your paintings map out a journey to the gestalt. A key descriptor is “generous,” in that they have a very human quality. They are not merely landscapes, mirrors held up to nature, but an attempt to share deep truths.