Thursday, June 30, 2011

Maynard Dixon Residency #2

I painted from this location several times during my residency. The coral pink sand is amazing and I love the movement in the dunes. Of course, sand moves with the wind …. Yes, it was a somewhat challenging location, but as usual, photos don’t do it justice so I’m glad I have my paintings!

The midday light in northern Arizona and southern Utah is fascinating. Some days it turns a grey and dried twig into a fluorescent bluish grey. As if a black light was turned on, a tan leaf becomes glowing and alive and every already colorful stone turns jewel-like. The air is alive with breathable color and you stand within it in the powerful landscape of the west just drinking it in. Of course, it would affect a painting done in that light the same way, as in never to be viewed in the same light again, so I plan to do studio work based on what I observed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Maynard Dixon Residency #1

Wildfires, mountain passes with snowstorms and high winds, and sandstorms in low areas were interspersed with times of perfect lighting and full clouds above the mesas. What a blessing to spend continued time in an area of the U.S. that can be so difficult to get to. The Maynard Dixon residency allowed me to afford to stay in the area long enough to wait out the weather systems, adapt to colors and conditions, and experience the area at a deeper level. It was too difficult to blog while on the trip, but I’m back and ready to post. Thanks for waiting. Here’s a few photos of where I stayed.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gone West!

Painting for the first time on my trip to the Maynard Dixon residency, Tucson provided a nice break from driving. I was pleased enough just to get the kinks out of my gear…every screw was loose on my umbrella, tripod, and pochade box. Is it the worsening roads in the US or my old Explorer rattling along? The dry air at 3% humidity petrifies paint in the palette; the timing with washes and brush strokes have to adapt as well. Usually a trip’s first painting is a throw away. I’ll post a few things from my trip over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

“Compositional Anarchy” A confession of a periodically willful painter.

It was like pitting a heavy weight champion against a fly -weight. Intentionally ignoring years of training and practice, I placed the strong, large, dominant form of the building squarely in the middle and passively modeled it. I then proceeded to use complementary colors attempting to direct the eye from the red kite in the blue sky to the figures on the grassy knoll. The diagonal across the entire lower portion of the composition did not help the ailing painting. There was little fight. The laws of composition were not to be overcome by mere trickery.

For artists: A great book: “Payne on Composition” can bought at DeRus gallery of Laguna Beach, CA.