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

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

New Forests - teaching questions

                                                           watermedia on Yupo 14x11

 No titles on these new works yet, it`s been mortal combat just to get something decent.

                                                          oil on multimedia board 14x11

                                                       watermedia on Terraskin 16x11

                                                             oil on multimedia board 7x5

                                                  watermedia on Terraskin 14x28

 With each recent painting, I`ve been mentally verbalizing what I`m doing. In early February I`m teaching a workshop in Seattle and want to be prepared. Talking while painting is something I discovered I can do and it`s the only way it feels natural to teach. The class is just two days so I`m trying to distill what I do into concise helpful units. For example I`m taking and will talk about a big variety of brushes. When I`m in the fray, I choose which one to use much like a surgeon would. Carefully. Each type does something specific and I believe the right choice is crucial. That being said, I also believe they should be inexpensive. Precious tools and materials really inhibit me.
A friend suggested I talk about color, she thinks it`s the most distinctive aspect of my work. It might be the most subconscious of my decisions too so I am happy she pointed it out as worthy of a discussion. Do any of you who look at my blog and work have any thoughts as to what you might  like to hear from me in such a setting? I`m not fishing for compliments, I`m just curious what others think is important in painting. I`ve never taken a workshop like this and I want to provide as much useful information as possible.
I will talk about having a real connection to your subject and the importance of knowing your reasons for painting and of what your ideals might be. These psychological questions are often uncomfortable especially for new painters yet they are worth asking though as the answers can set a course of forward motion.
Thinking about the process so much makes me realize how individual and instinctive it all is. Just the way we hold a brush will determine the sensitivity and energy of the mark it makes. And how we hold it is also probably genetic. It`s not a coincidence my handwriting looks like my Dads`.
There is plenty to love in painting, just creating something is often thrilling. If we go deeper, get more personal, we will encounter true tests of our character. If our best self prevails in those situations, painting becomes our companion and the real fun can begin. If I can make that experience more accessible, I will be happy.

                                          a poem from Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille
                                         [thanks to Dana and Laura]

                                                       Chasing Rivals by Matthew Dibble

                                                       Mecca Chip by Matthew Dibble

                                                        Earth Vanishes by Matthew Dibble

 I`ve mentioned Matthew before, I think he is truly an exceptional painter. He walks right up and steps into the shoes of Willem de Kooning, one of the greatest artists in history. Without explanation or apology Matthew extends the territory of abstract expressionism. His personal story is an inspiration. The investment group, Brighthouse Financial, made a little commercial/promotional video featuring Matthew, and it`s sweet. His show 'Legendary Bog' is up at the First Street Gallery in New York until January 26 2019.

 In New Mexico, I almost always knew what phase the moon was in. I worked at night and in the Southwest it is impossible to ignore the sky. Now in the Pacific Northwest, hardly ever. Too many clouds and trees! With this chart I can check with a glance.

 Here is a man who paints with the tide.

work for sale in my studio

Workshop in Seattle Feb. 2&3

Prints from Fine Art America