Sunday, August 31, 2008

Calm before the storm

Soft Summer Evening
oil on birch panel 8x6

Last night as we drove home from dinner in a neighboring town, the evening sky was so beautiful. Recent rain had greened up all the fields and it was a perfect late summer evening. Hard to believe Gustav is on the way.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cool Water

Cool Water
oil on birch panel, 8x6

When I was a little girl I was, like many little girls, horse crazy. I started riding when I was about six and within a year had convinced my parents I had to have my own horse. During the school year, I rode in the afternoon and on weekends and in the summer I spent a good deal of my time on horseback exploring the fields, pastures and woods in north Florida where I grew up. There was a large pond (or at least it seemed large to me) on the edge of a pasture at the barn where I boarded my horse. After a ride on hot summer afternoons, I would strip off my horse's tack (and my own shoes and socks) and ride bareback with just a halter and rope into the pond. As we moved out to the center of the pond where the water was deepest, I would float like a leaf off my horse's back, holding on to his mane and the halter rope. His legs would begin to churn beneath me and the cool water from the bottom of the pond would rise up and envelop me. It was the most perfect sense of freedom I have ever known.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Creative Capital

Evening Pond
10 x 8
Please contact me if interested in this piece

You know how sometimes it seems like an idea keeps popping up everywhere in things you are reading, or looking at or thinking about? I've been thinking a lot lately about what I choose to paint- what ideas and imagery interest me and why. I wrote a bit about that here (quoting both Annie Dillard and Thoreau) and since then, it seems I find references to this notion- that your aesthetic sensibility is a like a vein of ore you are meant to mine. Then last week I was rereading The Creators by Paul Johnson, and there it was again- except this time Johnson had given it a name- creative capital.

"By experience I mean the combination of observation and feeling that leads to a creative moment...this precious capital can be spent- thrown away, as it were...and replenished by undergoing fresh experience...of an intense kind."

I'm not sure I would have agreed with that a few years ago, but now it seems just about right, at least for me. In my own case, I can't help but notice that certain imagery- water, for example- and certain times of day- evening, night- are favorite motifs. Although it was mostly an unconscious thing, I think the change in my painting techniques were directly related to my desire to explore these ideas. Perhaps the most dramatic change came about because of our move to a landscape which in many respects reminds me of the landscape of my childhood. There are powerful associations for me, childhood memories that I hadn't thought of in years-but which now seem to inform everything I want to paint.

"There are a lot of things I could say about the art (of poetry) should be about major adventures only,outward and inward-important things that happen to you, or important things that occur to you. Mere poeticality won't suffice."
Robert Frost 1928

I also think there is an edge of melancholy and sometimes a sense of sadness or loss in my work, that wasn't there until the last few years. Perhaps this is just an acknowledgment of the loss of my parents, who I miss terribly, and the fact of my own mortality. At 58, I am not exactly at death's door (at least, not that I know of, but I do feel a sense of urgency and mourn the loss of so many creative years when I was otherwise engaged.

"Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case."
Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

But truth be told, I am not so sure I would have been able to tap into that vein 25 years ago or even 10 years ago. So perhaps this is my time and these are the things I was made to give voice to. One thing I know for sure, there's no time to waste.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Piney Woods Sunset

Piney Woods Sunset
8 x 10
Contact me if interested in this piece.

This part of Texas is referred to as the Piney Woods. I love the look of a pond through these tall pines, particularly at sunset. This painting is also a study for a larger work.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Evening Study
8 x 10

After a couple of weeks of really hot weather and almost a month without rain, we finally got two days of rain and temperatures dropped about 10 degrees. As the skies cleared at the end of the second day, the evening sky was the most beautiful shade of violet.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sunset Study
8 x 10

This is one of a number of studies I have done recently to work out some ideas for a larger painting. I tend to get a bit obsessed with a general visual idea and then try out different compositions, formats and color harmonies. Its been suggested somewhere ( I think it was in Art & Fear), that artists have a handful of themes that they spend their entire creative lives exploring in different ways. I don't know how true this is across the board, but I think it may be the case with me. I'm talking here about themes or ideas, rather than the specific imagery, although for me, those two things go very much hand in hand. I think its time well spent to think about the things you love and love to paint.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Grazing at Dusk

Grazing at Dusk
6 x 6
Like many other bloggers, I was locked out of my blog over the last couple of days because of some problem Blogger had misclassifying blogs as spammers. Glad that's over!

We are having a heat wave. The up side of this steamy circumstance is that each evening the sky turns a beautiful shade of pinky something. The temperature drops just enough for everyone, including the cattle, to breathe a sigh of relief that the sun has set.