Aug 21, 2007

Commentary

My address here is: susquehannastudio@gmail.com

Painting en plein aire is the emotional foundation of my paintings. Only incidentally is the subject of my paintings elemental nature: water, rocks, earth and sky, the movement and reflections of light throughout each day. Daily work often begins with a study and then a larger painting at the same location, which develops a dialogue of image and landscape over several days. I have in the past 40 years completed bodies of work during extended stays in Charleston SC, Washington DC (Dumbarton Oaks) Mt. Desert ME, Montecito CA, New Mexico, and most recently Keene Valley NY and Point Lobos State Park, CA. The largest body of work has been done close to home, mainly the rocky streambed that runs past my mill studio.

My palette is basic: earth red, raw and burnt sienna, raw and burnt umber, black, white, cobalt blue and viridian. I generally begin by laying in the shadows and build the whole intuitively, working with one large brush ( and a cleaning rag ) and mixing colors both on the palette and on the painting. I mix blue, raw umber and white for my grays, adding other colors to make warmer or cooler tonalities. My vocabulary is warm and cool, light and dark, making marks, brush strokes like heart-rhythms. Color is a vehicle for expression; my concerns are the energy of light, the mass of space, the emotions of shadows.

Painting requires concentration similar to fly fishing: keeping one's balance in treacherous waters while alert to the slightest change, intuitively reading what lies beneath the surface and responding with continuous attempts to match nature with guile. Like fly fishing, every day contains its own reward by simply being there. Few days disappoint and some are exceptional. The act of painting is being in the moment, experiencing the rhythm between the eye the hand and the heart.

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