Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Concept and the Passion

David Leffel, my all time painting hero, says painting is all about the concept. He says the concept is the vision that defines the entire painting. That pretty much equates with what other artists say about a painting starting with passion. It is all about the passion of the vision, even Cezanne said so.
Some days there is no passion. Doing the laundry takes it all out of me. At other times its also very hard to make my husband stop the motorcycle so that I can take a shot.  I can tell that his passion is being fed by the exhilaration of barreling through that huge flat curve in the road. (No, we don't ride Harleys). He really doesn't want to stop so that I can record this lovely bend in the road. My sense of balance requires that I try to balance both our passions, recognizing that his is very important to him also. So I find other ways to feed my passion.                       
How?  I go back to that place I saw and loved. I take my camera, but more importantly, I take my painting box and paints. I do paint as often as I can. And when I am not painting, I am watching painting  DVDs and reading books about it. Trying to learn what other artists think, how they feed that same passion and how they go about their work. All this as I try to figure out a way to take paints along on the bike. Have I mentioned priorities before?
This week a Plein Air DVD by Thomas Kegler came in the mail.  Its brand new. He paints the Northeast, specifically New York. I know the area, having been brought up in New England. If ever there were a place that requires a singular vision and a strong concept, it is that part of the country. The very abundant green of the forests can overwhelm much of your ability to compose .  You don't get a singular red cliff pointing skyward. Very seldom do you ever see a picture that just presents itself for painting. You have to identify and distill to capture the essence of the overriding player on the stage of a painting. Thomas does a great job of that and his procedure is wonderful to watch. I highly recommend this DVD as a great way to keep the passion alive when you cannot go out and paint. The only wish I had was that it would have gone on longer and taught me more. Kudos to you, Thomas.
                                                                                                                                                   Because I read a lot I have become familiar with Kevin McPherson's pond series. Kevin has painted an entire year's daily studies of the pond on his property. Its a wondrous series. So I thought that living in Wind Canyon is a unique opportunity for me, with four distinct, gentle seasons. So now I am putting myself on the spot, because I am proposing to do a series of Wind Canyon. It won't be every day,(how the devil did Kevin ever get anything else done?) perhaps just one painting of it a month, but one when I notice a change in the landscape. They are subtle changes here, not as marked as in say, Colorado. But it does change. So here today, is Study 1.

Wind Canyon Oak - Study1
 Its all about the distillation of the concept, and the passionate painting of it. 

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