Monday, July 11, 2016

ink: landscape confession

Seascape. 12 x 12 Monotype. Ink on BFK Rives paper

Sometimes it's better to keep my mouth shut.

When I was in my first art class, and had successfully completed the learning pieces on how to handle various media, my teacher asked me what I would like to paint on my own. Landscape? she suggested.

I made a face and insisted that I was not interested in painting landscape. Landscape bored me to tears. I would rather clean the shower than look at a landscape painting... On and on I went. I probably went on longer because my teacher's laughter kind of encouraged me.

I painted flowers. I painted people. I painted fruit.

But, I kept thinking about landscape. And I started to look at landscape paintings by the some of the greats. The more I looked, the more I liked what I saw. Maynard Dixon gave me shivers. Albert Bierstadt wowed me and made me laugh (how audaciously he manipulated the landscapes in his paintings to please himself!). Wayne Thiebaud thrilled me with the Sacramento River delta scenes.

About the same time, my husband and I started to travel. For two months or more at a time, we drove to get out of the Northwest winters and find some sunshine. And, because I love it, we often made our way to the coast. I had plenty of opportunities to study the landscape. And I did.

I love the space where the land meets the sea. I love the smell of the briny air. I love the sound of the water pulling and pushing at the beach and the whisper of the wind in the oatgrass. I love the way the light reflects on the shifting water and hints at the mysteries below the surface.

Before I realized what happened, I was painting landscapes. And loving it.

I should have kept my mouth shut in the first place. But, maybe, by opening my mouth and ranting a bit about landscape paintings (and how much I despised them), I created a space for myself to explore it. Between the rant and the question mark behind the work "why?" I found landscape and fell in love.

"This Land is Your Land" Woody and Arlo Guthrie, and others.

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