Posts Tagged ‘Landscape Painting’

This is a new painting for the upcoming Kada Gallery show that I am calling Mutual Admiration. It’s small ( 4″ by 8″ on paper) and simply constructed but it has what I feel is a very large presence.

It feels bigger than its size to me.

Maybe it’s the immense sense of calm it emits for me. It’s a meditative, tranquil feeling. I feel my blood pressure drop and my heart rate slow just by spending a moment or two looking at this piece.

And that’s a rare thing these days.

The Mutual Admiration comes from the two main elements in this picture. The Red Tree seems to be considering the rows of violet and green, which in turn appear to be returning the admiration as their rows converge near the base of its trunk.

Each sees the beauty, the wonder of the other.

Together, they turn their mutual admiration to the light of the sky that feeds them both and gives them a sense of something greater beyond their own beauty. And in that moment, there is a unity as though the universe recognizes their beauty as its own and embraces it wholly.

And for the time I spend looking at it, I feel a bit better. Comforted. Embraced.

That’s a lot to see in this small piece and maybe you won’t see it that way at all. That’s certainly okay. That is the nature of art.

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This a new painting that I am calling Pot Luck, a 10″ by 36″ piece on paper.  The pot part of the title is referring to the several pot lakes that surround the Red Tree, a slightly different way for me to represent water in my work.  But after using the term I began to think about how it might refer in a deeper sense to this scene and to our lives.  It now normally refers to a community meal where there is no specific menu and everyone brings a dish to share. It derived from the British Isles of centuries ago, when households might have only one pot in which to cook and a meal would often consist of whatever was available being thrown into the pot.  The resulting meal was called potluck.

 It’s this meaning that sparked my interest.  It made me think of how our lives are often very much like those potluck dinners where we make do with the ingredients at hand.  It may not always seem like the tastiest of dishes and we might sometimes cast an envious eye at those whose luck has blessed them with more ample pantries, wishing we were so fortunate.  But, hopefully in the end, we try to make the best of what is available to us and in the process become better chefs, making the most fulfilling  meals from the simple ingredients at hand. 

 I think that’s the takeaway here– to make the most of what we have in our lives.  To not bemoan that which we do not have but to instead celebrate and accentuate what we have.  We are what we are.  A simple stew can never be chateaubriand but, with care and attention,  can be tasty and quite satisfying in itself.  Maybe we should all give this same  proper care and attention to our own lives.

Meanings aside, the other thing that I really like in this piece are the way the clouds reflect the shape of the pot lakes, their elliptical silhoueettes making them look kind of flying-saucery in the sky.  It is an  afternote that doesn’t greatly alter the scene but adds a layer of depth to it.  An added layer of flavor to the stew, if you see it that way…


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I’ve written here before about how I find the color blue an intoxicant.  When my nose is to the canvas and it is all that I can see, it has a way of making me feel that it is the only color in my world.  It’s a very satisfying and mollifying effect and, if I am not wary, I can find myself using blue tints to the exclusion of all others.  Because of this wariness, I try to only sporadically break out the blues.  But even with this watchful effort, I find the addictive pull of the color very strong in some pieces.  This new painting is such a case.

Called Blue Dance of Dawn, it’s a 10″ by 30″ canvas that employs two of my familiar icons, the Red Tree and the the Red Roofs.  They, however,  feel secondary to the predominance of the color blue here.  They serve as warmer counterpoints to the coolness of the blue and signify awakening  to me in this scene.  But the feel of this piece is dictated by the calm harmony of the blues.

I find this piece very placid with that  kind of satisfying effect that one sometimes has in the best dreams, that feeling of total understanding and acceptance of the universe.  That wonderful feeling that fades so quickly once you open your eyes and realize that it was only a dream, the details suddenly fuzzing over.  Maybe that’s what this painting represents– that idealized version of the world in those dreams just before we are awakened to the reality of the moment. That fleeting feeling of grace, seemingly within grasp then gone.

Let me think that over…


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And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Hamlet, Act I, Scene V


I call this new painting Heaven and Earth.  It’s about 7″ wide by 35″ tall on paper and is very much in the same vein as the very  large painting that I recently completed and featured here, The Internal Landscape.  This piece features a nocturnal scene however with a deep blue sky punctured by the light of stars.

The title might refer, in a way, to the lines above from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, where Horatio and Marcellus barge in on Hamlet’s conversation with the ghost of his father.  Horatio is a rationalist, philosophically, and to him  the idea of ghosts seems absurd so that when Hamlet asks him to swear to not  speak of what he has seenl he is mystified.  Hamlet then utters the lines — There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,/ Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

I suppose this painting is saying much the same thing, that we live both in the world that we know and in a world of which we are unaware.  The stars above are, and have been, always with us but we know little of them, really.  The river  runs but we often know little of its journey and the roads travel to places we shall never see.  And around us at all times are radiowaves carrying voices and images from every corner of the globe, unseen and unheard.  And perhaps among all this  are the ghosts like Hamlet’s father, moving unnoticed by our eyes focused on that which we know and see.  Or, at least, are trying to know.

I guess the takeaway here is that there is often more than meets the eye, even when the scene before you might seem enough.

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