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   Welcome to my blog! I'll be posting thoughts about art, photos, happenings, and other things that strike me--and hopefully my readers--as interesting. And please visit my website by clicking the link to the right--thanks!

   Also please check out my second blog, The Painting Archives to see older (pre-2004) paintings for sale.


Saturday, November 06, 2010
  thoughts about landscape

Though it has been years since I described my paintings as "landscapes," landscape and nature continue to be major influences in my textures, colors and mark-making. This influence has been on my mind lately--starting when I was explaining my work to some people at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art in Colorado last month. I mentioned that when I draw or scratch certain kinds of lines, I am thinking about landscape. Specifically I'm remembering the grasses and plants in the alpine meadows of the Pyrenees where I have done two artist residencies. Representational sketches and watercolors I did while there opened up new ideas for including lines in my work. Besides the ones that I think of as grasses, twigs, and other flora, I also use meandering lines that relate to the long walks I would take during my residency--these are a kind of memory map--a more abstract interpretation of my experience in the landscape. The person I was talking to was quite surprised, and said she had thought my work was pure abstraction, with no reference to visual reality. But actually my work is infused with ideas derived from nature--textures and colors that relate to rocks, earth, and plant life.

Later, I thought I could have expanded my little speech beyond those more literal references. The techniques I use, of building up layers and then cutting and scratching back through, relate to processes in nature, and the structures and order of my pieces also speak of natural balance and order. So on this more abstract level I continue to derive many of my ideas from the landscape.

Back when my work was more obviously landscape, I thought of it in the more traditional sense of "scenery" and now I feel I am growing closer to its essence and spiritual meaning. The painting shown at the top of this post was done in 2002, after my return from my first residency in the Pyrenees--created during a transitional phase from more literal landscape into something less specific and more abstract. It is one of five older paintings that a local hospital in in the process of purchasing from me, and is shown here in its new home--one of the Meditation Rooms of the hospital. This placement seems to me an affirmation of my intentions for the painting and so is very pleasing to me. The meditative and calming aspect of landscape is something that continues to be a strong current in my work.

I'm also thinking about landscape as I prepare to leave for Spain and the island of Lanzarote, where I will be next week. This video shows the dramatic and rugged geography of Lanzarote, and even this little five minute visual trip gives me ideas.



This seems to be exactly the kind of landscape that inspires me--rocky, rough and barren, with evidence of the powerful forces of nature. I realize that this may seem a contradiction to my paintings, quiet, orderly and meditative as they are. But somehow this landscape, and the images I make feed my soul in the same way--they are expansive, and at the same time intimate--bringing me close to core of my own self and the expression of that center.
 
Comments:
Loved the video, Rebecca -- the landscape reminds me a lot of the Big Island of Hawaii, especially those lava tube caves. Have a wonderful and inspired time connecting with Nature!
 
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