Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Myers Falls 16x20

This painting was started on location at Myers Falls, the oldest longest producing millsite west of the Mississippi, 1826, or atleast that is the claim of the caretaker that lives below the falls and maintains the power house that still operates and makes enough power for up to 1000 homes. Pretty cool. This was also the area that the Hudson Bay Company established a post and if it weren't for David Thompson and political shenanigans that occured at the time this area would have been part of Canada. Also nearby was one of the greatest salmon fishing sites on the Columbia to which tribes from all around the west would gather for a potlatch. The first of the catch went to the Creator, the next that were provided for were the elders and handicapped, then those that came to trade were dealt in. Salmon didn't make it up Myers Falls but continued on their way up to the Upper Columbia, one of the greatest Salmon fisheries the world has ever seen. Today dams on the Columbia have closed much of the fishery off to salmon, many species of which are endangered of extinction. I wonder what it was like back then. I bet you had to dodge Grizzlies and wolves for some of the bounty.
It was a very cold and grey day to paint. I had to brighten it up in the studio. I was tempted to put turkeys in the painting. As I was working a flock of turkeys flew from the trees across the canyon over my head. There were atleast 50 of the big birds and it was a delight to watch them cruise over my head, gobbling to each other as they landed.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Fall Series

I've been working on a "Sanpoil Autumn" series.
I've enjoyed developing a simplifying my compositions as well as color notes from plein air work onsite. It is a pleasure to explore possibilities and interject the poetry I derive by reflecting on nature. I listen to opera and refer to notes of paintings and digital photos I took on location. I have always been enamored with the process of painting, of discovering new color combinations. Painting is much like playing the guitar. Many times I take time out and play the guitar as I critique my work. I have noticed there are many similarities between the way I play and the way I paint. It is very personal, I have never been inclined to play music as it is writen, rather it is a point of departure that I build upon with innovation and simplification. If art is about growth then I am growing. I discover my self through my efforts. It is an aesthetic development of the window of the self and the world that self occupies..

I visited the Frye museum in Seattle and discovered works by Cummings, one of the last of the NW greats like Tobey and Graves. I had seen some of his "Western" work in various magazines. The show was a retrospective of his very hard life in which he was married 7 times, survived TB and being a Communist during the days of Black Lists. I found insight into an artists development. He was true to his own vision. His later works are a celebration to his committment to color. He said something to the effect that after 40 yrs he finally allowed himself what he always suspected, he was a color junky. That's not exactly how he put it but it certainly is appropriate for his later Masterpieces, "Balthazar" and others.