Saturday, January 16, 2010

Fine Art, tools of expression

I had mentioned in an earlier posting that I considered my education and learned techniques as my "tools of expression." I reiterate this because it would be so easy for an artist to get into the manufacturing mode because of the pressures of living in this fast paced society. The more we use the computer with all of it's opportunities, the more we seem to develop an Attention Deficit Disorder, ADD, to life. Small bits of information that are processed quickly like the sound bites of evening news or Twitter comes to mind. I bring this up because I am a victim of this too and I have to remind myself to slow down, take a deep breath.

If I were to head out to the Valley (Skagit Valley Washington) looking around for a "formula" painting, it would be rather easy to find one. I need more than that. I need emotion. Sitting on rock with sketch book in hand, absorbing the day, and being a voyeur to the present, I watch the trickle of water moving down the slough. My eyes move along the curvature of the bank, each twig and blade of grass now coming into focus. Ten to fifteen minutes pass before I set my pencil to the paper. I'm establishing the values and contemplating the color. I write notes on the side of my drawing, "subtle shades of blues and cool greens in the shadows with some grayed reds beneath." The blaze of tulips are almost blinding but, I ignore for the time being since the fields are brown and tulips won't bloom for a few months. This is how the mind wanders when you slow the processing. As I'm sitting there, I notice a hunter in the distance, hardly moving. I contemplate entering him in the composition but, decided not. Still, I cannot keep my eyes from him. He moves one leg forward in deep concentration, herons are fascinating. Can you imagine a heron on Twitter? Back to my drawing, I wonder what this delta region of the valley would be like without roads, dikes, and sloughs. I imagine that there must have been tens of thousands of birds, flying, squawking, and just standing still like this great blue hunter. A certain bonding feeling comes over me as I sit here. The painting I'm contemplating is much too large to paint outdoors so I close my sketch book and sit for another ten minutes.

A couple weeks or so have passed. I've painted this slough before but, I've never painted this painting before. It's a new experience. I still see the hunter and wonder where he's standing now.

"Trickle to Sea" 36x48

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