I went home to Cherokee, North Carolina for Thanksgiving with relatives this past November. While there, I happened on a beautiful mountain stream, the Oconoluftee, on the way to my cousins home. As a mountain landscape artist, I especially love painting waterfalls and mountain lakes. Seeing this reminded me that wherever we may travel we can usually find the subject matter that we enjoy the most, even when far from home. There are, after all, people everywhere for portrait painters, and if you love buildings there are structures of all shapes and sizes around the world, the same with flora and fauna, animals, children….and, of course, water!
As a landscape artist, I can relate to the description of “placefulness” by Christian McEwen in his book, World Enough and Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down. I have experienced those moments of complete immersion, mindful of the perfection of the place and eager to capture the sights, values and forms for future paintings. One such hike was Plain of Six Glaciers this summer where the 7 mile, 1100 foot elevation gain to a max of 7000 feet up the valley at the head of Lake Louise presented flooded trail, ledges with chains, and avalanches thundering down. A trail like this employs all your senses- physical, mental and spiritual. If your subject doesn’t excite you in this way, you should ask yourself , why?
As an artist, in the Canadian Rockies, I frequently revisit favourite areas. I have been to Lake O’Hara every hiking season for the past 22 years, and I have been to Lake Agnes almost every year since arriving in 1976. Why? Because it is always different, or I see something- a view, shadows, weather, a flower, a colour- I had not seen before. On this special day, it was an avalanche across the area where I am standing as my son and I were halfway across the lake. Some artists like to get to know their subject intimately, O’Keeffe had the desert, Charlie Russell cowboys in Montana, Andrew Wyeth had Chadds Ford. An artist has to find their “angle of reponse”- the pace where they come to rest and makes them the best they can be.
Work from the Thursday Morning Advanced Class…
On the last day of the class, we looked at some of the completed works of the session.
A lot of work and thought went into these pieces and it shows! Each year they get better…
all who submitted had at least one piece accepted into the Whyte Museum Watermedia Show
opening January 19, Saturday, from 1-4pm, Banff. Music by Joy and Vlad Kaitman…..
Put it on your calendar! New classes begin January 9 and 10th, 2013…
Happy New Year…
We took a bus up 7 miles to the Sunshine Meadows Lodge and began hiking
-more up! White Mountain Adventures calls this “hiking on top of the world” and our view overlooking the mountains and Healy Meadows was spectacular. We painted surrounded by golden Larches. I am working on a large painting of this view for the Canada House Gallery “Joy” Show on Nov. 24th.
Historically, the cardinal direction points have been important in navigation, direction, mythology, religion and now…. art.
In class I was helping someone create a shadow under a log -but she was okay going from left to right with the brush in her hand but when she tried to go back over the shadow she couldn’t change direction. She was trying to keep her hand in the same position and still move from right to left over the top of the shadow giving it a lost and found edge- it wasn’t working. And the time she was taking trying to figure it out meant that the shadow color dried and she was unable to get that lovely transitional value.
Instead, when you get to the right-hand side of the page turn the top of the brush to face West- the opposite direction- your wrist will also turn…. now you can move the brush smoothly along the top of the shadow.
Practice moving your brush in the four directions…… point the top of the brush East, West, North and South…bend your wrist as you do this……..