Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Road to the Highlands

I spent much of the fall in the beautiful Okanogan Highlands, a neighboring eco-system of high (4000') open grasslands of aspen groves in the folds of hills that rise to forested slopes of solitary peaks such as Bonapart Mt (seen in the background).
Bonapart has significance to my partners family, as does the Okanogan, because their ancestors were some of the first ranchers in the area and her grandfather, Russel Buckley, was one of the first Forest Rangers, patrolling the huge forests of the Okanogan by horseback.
It is important to me to follow the advise of friend and artist William Reese and his wife Fran who say that I should paint about what I know and the places I know. They say there is much of beauty and value in the region that have yet to be discovered by the art world.
From participating in paintouts and painting in different locations of the country I have found that there is considerable reason to regard 'place' as

important to not only the artist rendering the view but to those that live in that landscape and perhaps to those that value such work enough to purchase it and live with the painting they have invested in, a raison d'etre of place, painting, artist and patron.
I have set myself a project of painting the colorful studies I did of the Okanogan into large, 30"x40" canvases. Doing so I have reached a technique that is exciting and enjoyable and achieves a goal I have felt my work should also explore of considering the painting as an artifact of thought expressed in harmonious and beautiful stature. Simply put, I am using the broken color concept of the impressionists and using LOTS of paint, actually carving the paint into the drawing it needs to be. Perhaps nothing new in the realm of art history but new and exciting to me. If you can expand this photo you will be able to see the impasto effect of the paint.

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