Saturday, February 9, 2013

Ibex Dunes

1.94 Ibex Dunes. The sand in this painting required a lot more subtle color differences and blending than I typically use. This meant that I had to paint all of the color exactly as I wanted it to be before I could lay on the shadows. If I discovered that a bluish area needed to move over slightly, it would be too late to correct it after I had added the shadows which would preclude the use of the big brush I needed to do the blending. I typically try to paint with this in mind but usually find myself making corrections for reasons of composition at the end. What I discovered here though was that all the blending allowed me to move elements of the scene around while the paint was still wet and I made a lot of adjustments before I let that layer of paint dry. I'm going to have to come back to this one over the next couple of days to decide if it is interesting or not.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Park Avenue III

1.93 Park Avenue III. I wonder if I use too much color in these night scenes. I always set out thinking that I'm going to create a monochromatic blue painting when I start a night scene. In the end, I can't resist mixing in dull sunset colors on the stone. This is how I remember these scenes for some reason. I remember sitting, watching the sun set and the stars appear; remembering the colors of the sunset while the rising full moon relieves the shadows that the scene disappeared into as the sun set. I guess this is the reason I paint pictures instead of just recording them with a camera; I can show what I remember when a photograph doesn't.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Shiprock II

1.92 Shiprock II. This is the sight that started my fascination with the southwest when I was a kid. This massive jagged stone pushed up through the center of an otherwise flat, featureless field with sawtoothed walls of stone running up to it. The walls look too tall and thin to be formed by natural weathering, almost like a massive volcano began to erupt through cracks in the the earth before the magma was frozen mid air. This turns out to be partially true, as the formation is the neck of an ancient volcano that has been unearthed by erosion over 20 million years. Shiprock was like nothing I had ever seen, and that photograph captured my imagination.

Many years later I finally found my way to that field in New Mexico. Along the way I had met a Navajo man in Page, Arizona who had told me a story about a giant bird that nested atop the rock. A young Navajo man had bravely climbed to the top and taken a feather from the bird which he used to make the first fletching, which allowed him to turn the tide in a war. This was a sacred site, and there were many different stories about it.

Hearing all of these stories had transmitted a sense of reverence to me and I was hesitant to approach the central rock. The wind blew so hard across the field that it was difficult to walk. I climbed the hill to the stone wall leading to the rock. Out of breath from fighting the wind as I climbed I opened my mouth to take a breath but my lungs were filled by the wind without my having to inhale. I gasped and choked as I leaned with my hand resting on the wall. I had touched the place that I had dreamed about for so long and it had touched me. I couldn't bring myself to go any further so I left, and shiprock is still in the distance for me.