During the winter of 2011 I found myself out of work for the first time in my adult life. Cabin bound at our remote home in the high mountains of Colorado I spent endless hours teaching myself how to paint with oils. By Spring I had completed a dozen or so pieces that I referred to as a “Full Moon Winter Adventure Series” At first my palette was limited to Paynes Grey, Titanium White and Liquin with which I concocted compositions in shades of grey. Images of mountain settings, log cabins, skiers and skaters seemed to flow from life experience and imagination with absolutely no visual reference. As the series progressed I added Cerulean Blue to better represent the atmospheric colors of a full moon winter night as well as a primary reds and yellows to represent firelight. At the time I was quite pleased with the outcome. I had leveled up as a painter; made great improvements over my earlier attempts at painting.
“Finding Balance” 18″x24″ Oil on Canvas (2011)
I now find myself being forced to take time off from my business for health reasons. My battle with a painful autoimmune disease, Polymyalgia Rheumatica has once again left me house bound through an entire winter and once again I am striving to level up as a painter. Fifteen pieces later, I’ve completed a series that I call the “Super-moon Winter Adventure Series”. This time however, I’m using top shelf acrylics and lots of colors and I’m having a blast. I’m also experimenting with wood panels and painting board in addition to canvas. The verdict is still out on which support I prefer.
For reasons that I can’t describe, these compositions just seem incomplete without the inclusion of people. I guess I don’t really buy in to the idea that an image can be adventurous without an adventurer. My male figures often closely resemble me or at least the me of my minds eye, even if I set out to draw a human shape that is entirely different. Ooops..I did it again..that guy looks a lot like me.
Back in 2011, I painted a lonely ice skater gliding over a frozen pond and I titled it “Finding Balance”. Once again I’m compelled to compose adventurous ice skating scenes and I’ve included two of the new pieces for comparison. I’ve been so busy painting that as of yet I haven’t titled them. As always, I welcome critique and comment.
In my next post I’ll show more from the Super-moon Series and I’ll talk about a surprising way that I’m using photography to paint better. Until then take care and remember that Art Is Therapy.
I stumbled upon a photograph this past week that really inspired me. It was a picture of a person walking on a beach yet there was a heavy element of surrealism in the sky which was painted in somehow to bring about the best of both worlds…a composite work of art. I began dreaming almost immediately about ways that I could combine my photography and painting skills to produce something entirely new and exciting. This composite is made up of three photographs captured in the last month or so and I’m kind of blown away by the process of dreaming up how to combine and manipulate them to arrive at one finished piece. This is a much needed wake up call, it’s time to step out of the comfort zone and begin asking “what if”. Have a great week!
We had temps in the low 70’s this past week in Denver. My thoughts are definitely on spring.
Have a great week!
Week #8 has been more difficult than the first seven. I guess I call it the Monday Mantra Challenge for good reason. I don’t know what’s going on but I have a sneaking suspicion that it has to do with all the Bull shit that is going on in the world right now. I don’t know who decided to name us ManKind but I’m pretty sure they aren’t too happy with us.
I started my day as a cold footed, camera wielding witness to a beautiful sunrise this morning. I look at this photograph and I think about all that would be missing without both the subtle and the stark variations in the visual elements. Why can’t we have the same appreciation for our human differences. It seems to me that one particular political candidate who is long on cash and short on compassion might heed this advice. Remember to look at your own reflection as you step out onto the thin ice of false assumptions.
Colorado State Capital
Twice this past week I have been out the door at zero dark thirty with coffee in one hand, my camera in the other. On both occasions I had a fresh opportunity to see me hometown with a fresh eye and I wanted to share. Yesterday’s agenda was to take my Mom to the train station to put her on the “Zephyr”, bound for Grand Junction where she will spend the Holiday with my Sisters. As I sat there in Union Station, sipping coffee and waiting for the Train, it occurred to me that Denver has matured into a living work of art and so has my Mother. How could I not be inspired?
I’ve been to Moab, Utah region many times and have found with each visit that there is always something new to discover. Potash Road, as I found out during our October trip, is a must see and do. Just North of town near the entrance to Arches National Monument, a road crosses and follows the mighty Colorado River. Vertical red rock canyon walls are Mother Nature’s embellishment to a landscape that is an absolute world of art. Slow down and look a little closer and you’ll find that the Native Americans were inspired to follow suit. Rock Art is everywhere and mostly untouched for centuries except here and there where someone felt to compelled to destroy it.
If you continue up the road beyond the pavement, you will find yourself skirting a number of tailings ponds, leftover from the cold war era uranium mines. You’ll want to make sure you have a high clearance vehicle, preferably four wheel drive because this is no place to have car problems. I didn’t even want to stop to take pictures for fear that we might start glowing in the dark. We continued on up the road and eventually ended up driving through a real life Hollywood movie set (read my recent post “The Accidental Paparazzi”) before climbing up to the entrance of Canyonlands National Park.
Mankind leaves an indelible imprint on the land, there is no way around it. Hopefully, we will learn from past mistakes and strive to make our mark on the world one that says we were a caring and respectful people. If we don’t….well, the handwriting is on the wall.
You know the drill. It happens when you are really hungry, you don’t feel like cooking and you can’t come to terms with exactly what you desire. You pick up the phone and a short while later the door bell rings and you are handed a paper bag that has way more food in it than you can possibly eat in one setting. Chinese Food Rocks and life just doesn’t get much better. Or at least that’s the way you feel until you open up your fortune cookie only to discover a losing Lotto Number on one side and a disappointing message on the other…..WTF.
I have an idea that I’ll share with you if you promise to keep it a secret. In fact, If you want in on the ground floor there is still room for you (just send me a small check to secure your spot). You see, the world wants good fortunes in their cookies and the declining standards of the fortune cookie monopolies have created a ripe business opportunity. I mean, where is the quality control? My case and point are made by my most recent experience. Can you guess which one I kept for myself and which one I gave to the Cat?
My start up will deliver a product that tastes infinitely better than vanilla laced cardboard and every single message will be uplifting and positive. I don’t see how it could fail. Are You In?
Each Fall I find myself struggling to accept the seasonal loss of light and color. The Northern Hemisphere is tilting toward the dark and cold side and there is nothing I can do about it. This year I held on as hard as I could for as long as I could and I’ve stored up the images that I need to sustain me until Spring. Beginning at the end of September, I went on a fall foliage bender like never before. Before it was all said and done, denial fueled a journey to the relatively low elevations of extreme Western Colorado and Eastern Utah.
Alexander Supertram (the camper) at Sand Flats near Moab, Utah
The high desert around Grand Junction and Moab is always visually stunning. Add the colors of fall to the red rocks and big vistas and you have a beauty that is hard to describe. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.
“High Desert Sunrise”
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