Adventures and journeys are an important part of my art. Aside from the craft, what I want to express is the focus of my intent with each painting. The inspiration for my work is sparked by the elements in nature and whether it is the Wild Horses, the Grand Canyon or the simple beauty of a wren perched on a limb, it is the beginning of a journey. I want to put as much of my experience into each painting as I can, while allowing the adventure and journey to continue with the viewer. Because, that is when the journey is complete.
Part of the process is facing and meeting the challenges that are inherent in working on location. Some of those challenges are internal questions, “Can I do it?” , “Will the painting work?”. The other part is the obstacles faced in the painting /journey process. The part of getting myself and my gear to where ever it is that I want to paint. I have found that in meeting those challenges, the freedom and experience is expressed in my painting.
The summer 2014 wild horse painting trip included Little Book Cliffs, sand Wash Basin, McCullough Peaks, Pryor Mountain and Dry Head Mustangs. Time spent camping on the Range, in quiet contemplation and studying the mustangs while painting is a challenging and rewarding experience. This process requires focus and endurance to find the horses and quickly paint from life. The effort results in paintings that reflect my total experience, capturing more life and feel than if I relied strictly on photo reference.
The Grand Canyon is a vast beauty. It is a complex combination of shapes, shadows, color and it is always changing. My attempt to capture the beauty I saw was challenging. Because of the volume of visitors the Grand Canyon receives, I wanted to go in the “Off season”. So I packed up my gear in December and headed out. Although the look out points were relatively uncrowded, I had the winter weather to contend with. Finding a spot to paint out of the wind was out of the question. So I held on to anything that would blow away and started painting.
Getting up early and hiking down the Bright Angle trail I found a place to set-up and capture the first rays of sun on the canyon formations. I wanted to paint the forms and then add the highlights of sun on the edge of the rocks. In the late afternoon I set up at another point and painted the forms and the shadow patterns as they fell across the canyon walls. In all of this, my question was, “What can I leave out?” To express the vastness without articulating each rock and crevasse was part of the challenge. What I put in was the starting point for the viewer journey, and what I left out was to be the ending point of the viewer adventure. I hope it is one that will inspire!
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