I really enjoy landscape painting and feel compelled to depict the land. Essence, sense of place, and the study of light are things I have always focused on. Recently I have become interested in how landscape painting can be more connected to my everyday life, so I am seeking out subjects that are less picturesque and possibly more relevant. In this case, the devastating qualities of nature and the times when nature encroaches on our constructed environments. Things I like about this piece include a sense of motion, the dashboard point of view, and the interaction of organic and synthetic textures.
Itasca State Park, home of the Mississippi river headwaters...trying to paint a more relevant or realistic view of nature. I wanted to depict a very elegant and fluid green foliage and contrast that against a sharp and rigid fractured tree. I like thinking of this as a metaphor for critical mass and a breaking point. That psychological tension might be what this piece is about, I'm not entirely sure. Sometimes I paint with a very specific idea in mind, while other times I just find subjects that resonate with me and I paint them to discover their meaning.
I came across this log while walking through a natural prairie nature preserve. I was completely consumed by it, couldn't stop looking at it. As is my process I took lots of photos and then went back to my computer to edit. While doing this I kept trying to figure out what it was about this thing that was so interesting. I liked how in it's decay you could see the patterns of growth, like a recorded visual history. But I still couldn't help but feel like this thing didn't belong in its surroundings; it seemed too iconic and special. I wanted to separate or extract it out of its context and highlight that somehow. There are a lot of directions I wanted to take this painting into, but overall I am happy with the way it turned out and think it captures my initial response.
Escapism is term I have been thinking a lot about, and it refers to the idea of getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and finding a peace and calm in nature. It's a big part of the whole cabin culture here in MN, and I think it has been a major inspiration for me while working with landscape. I like the irony in this piece in which this person is finding that escape in a very urban setting. I wanted the figure to dissolve a little bit more into his surroundings and have the railing very sharply painted, acting as a barrier or partial separation between him and the river. That was the concept I discovered while painting this image, and although it may or may not come through for the viewer I do like the composition and some of the more evident brushwork.
12" x 16" Watercolor. I enjoy the boxy shapes of cattails stands and the diagonal planes of lily pads. I felt a direction and energy within the flatness of the water and how that lead my eye into the distance.