Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Fjaorgliufur ! [Icelandic Canyon]

                                                       watercolor on Yupo 12x12

 Just like painting the geothermal pools in Yellowstone, this canyon in South Iceland was so ornate and unbelievable there wasn`t a credible visual 'center' to work from. When the facts are so odd and unfamiliar, questions about realism are irrelevant. Any rendering will be as strange as the site itself. So after traveling so far and at considerable expense to see this wonder, I`m sort of paralyzed as to how to proceed with painting it. I was there for a couple of hours but there was a lifetime of material.

                                                            Fjaorgliufur photo

 For the ten days since our return my head has been spinning with confusion about whether to even try to paint what I saw. I`ll probably do some watercolors and feel it out, over time.
Before leaving, I had been in Coos Bay and exploring the preserves and parks in that part of the southern Oregon coast. No problems with that landscape.

 My brilliant niece Elizabeth is getting married the day after tomorrow. To a fine young man and an original thinker. Lots of relatives about and joy in the air. My brother Gary would have been so proud of this moment, he loved her exuberant spirit. She truly is unique and it`s been fascinating watching her grow up.
So, with all the commotion I`ve had to clean my house! Big project!
Interesting thing, as soon as I start, I`m suddenly filled with artistic inspiration. Dying to get into the studio after doing nothing for a week.
In his illuminating book "The Erotic Mind", Jack Morin explains the one thing that will intensify desire is an obstacle. Too busy scrubbing the stove, well of course my authentic destiny as a painter will beckon!
The opposite can be true as well. Clear the decks of any and all intrusions into quality painting time and you may enter the studio empty of ideas. It`s maddening and perverse and all too human.

                                                    Gjian panorama by John Sanders

 The utopian, impossible paradise set in the badlands of interior Iceland.


 My new favorite brush; sharp point, heavy load, cheap and imitation squirrel!


 Most of the watermedia supplies I use. The Holbein watercolors are key.

From the files;

                                                      Snowfield Auke Bay oil on canvas 40x30

Painted from a drawing done on a ferry in Alaska.

work for sale in my studio


Libby Fife said...


I felt the same way about Utah. I wasn't there long enough to assimilate much of anything. The landscape was so surreal-so much like another planet-and very overwhelming. Incorporating anything into my work has been slow going. Oddly enough though, reading about the landscape has provided some help; a connection of sorts.

Congratulations to your niece. Weddings are happy things!

I enjoy seeing older work and knowing what tools you use. You have a lot of stuff! Whatever it takes to get the job done right? (And no wonder going into the field with your stuff is a challenge!)

Hope things will go smoothly for you:)

Ruth Armitage said...

I find the same perversion in myself... at some of the busiest times the urge to create is often strongest, while during a lull the muse is quiet. Enjoy the festivities with your family.... Such a joyful time! Love your new paintings!

RH Carpenter said...

Have a wonderful family gathering!! And yes, the landscape was something totally "other" to your usual so it will take time to view the photos, think about it and look at your colors. I think your usual color palette will work well with this landscape - I see lots of greens and violets (and you can sneak in a little rose here and there :) I'm sure you don't need to paint a lot of Icelandic paintings just because you were there for a week or give yourself some time to assimilate (maybe read a good Scandanavian novel to get yourself in the mood?). Have a wonderful weekend.

E.M. Corsa said...

So much I want to comment on but running late today. But I had to say, the cat pic cracks me up! And cleaning the stove? What 's that?