Returning from a day’s outing to a place called Bergerac . . . .yes, Bergerac of Cyrano fame . . . . . . . . . you know! Cyrano Bergerac, the muskateer who wrote the love letters for his pal . . . .we drove through beautiful rolling hills of fields of grapes, corn, sunflowers and, occasionally, potatoes. On this overcast day, as we wove among the vineyards, a distant hill planted with fields of sunflowers, lit up under a sudden sunbeam. It was an amazing sight! I couldn’t help myself. The urge to paint that contrast just could not be resisted. So, out came the soft brushes. Several glazes later, this is what showed up. A texture of granulated cool color underlies the warmth. There is an undulating rhythm to the countryside there that is hopefully mentioned in the painting. Enjoy!
En Plein Air at the Firehole
Yellowstone and Jackson Hole were simply mind blowing. The Grand Tetons and the light on or behind them never stopped jolting our senses. This little slice of the area included wandering Bison just to the right of the barn. In a coincidence encounter 100 miles away, we met one of the family who occupied this old homestead! That was a story by itself!
We arrived home yesterday after a three day jaunt cross country through Idaho, Nevada and California. This shot of me painting near the Firehole River in Y’stone park is revealing of the gear and the necessary protection from the trees I am hiding behind. The wind was whipping about, as mentioned in a previous post, which made a sun umbrella impossible. . . .the trees gave the shade and blocked the wind enough to let me work.
Now that I am home, it is time to resume a normal life (if normalcy is possible for me! ). I have to sandwich my art activities in among other things. No servants. No large bank accounts. No poking through the days wondering about what to do. There is always a list!
The other photo is a sample of the terrific wildlife encounters we experienced throughout Wyoming. This gorgeous Bull Moose was nearly oblivious to our presence . . . .or so it seemed. There are some 300 more photos which will make for some nice reminiscing this winter.
I thought you all might like to see some of what we saw and experienced.
oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″
A few days ago, I went out painting with Elio Camacho and stood on the edge of these tall cliffs to paint an incredible vista. When painting with someone else, I am careful not to be too inquisitive about what they do and how they do it. I have my reasons for that, some of which have to do with sticking to my own style. The other reasons have to do with not invading something that the other artist may want to protect . . .such as the specific means to their ends in painting. That’s what I did last week. However . . . . .
Looking at what he did and the mess I had created for myself, I began to realize that he had not gotten caught in the details and textures as I had. The cliffs were just mere shapes. His strokes weren’t even representative of the textures of the cliff face as mine attempted to be. He just made shapes and created volume utilizing strokes, value and temperature. Something I should have heeded . . . . .after all, I know better than to get caught in the minutae!!!
Today I went to the studio with the expressed purpose to be conscious of these things. To consider temperature changes as planes shifted out of the light. To pay close attention to value differences. . . . . and to use my own palette of color. Each artist has their own signature in the colors they use . . . and I have mine.
Reflecting on this last week’s experiences, I realize that the gears are turning and gradually making me become a better painter. I can feel it when realizations suddenly turn on. I get excited when the bulb lights and an idea comes to life with these realizations. And . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .I just wish the gears wouldn’t turn so slowly. While that wish is present, I am living an exciting and fulfilling life every day!!
watercolor on paper, 15″ x 22″