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Monday, January 07, 2013

Seeing the Light

How long will it take to produce this current painting from start to finish?  The answer to that keeps changing.   I put a lot more time into these than I used to.  As nature teaches me more in how to see, I try more and more to take those lessons and apply them with paint. The more I see, the more detail I want to portray.  I want to learn to paint faster, but for now I am content with learning to interpret the light I see

More time with a point-and-click camera in the Pacific Northwest's majestic wilderness.  Wake up in the middle of the night, hurry, must be at Reflection Lake before dawn. That hour before dawn in the summer comes very early indeed.  Being there before dawn means we are treated with the first rays of sunlight brushing the face of Mount Rainier.  An entire day wandering this vast national park yields so many lessons, so many opportunities to see natural light illuminating nature's beauty. The best times, of course, are when those rays of light are at a low angle... early morning and late in the evening.

I am not a photographer by any stretch, I am just a painter armed with a point-and-click determined to capture what I see, to preserve it, to help me remember the colors, the light, the details.

The following images are collected from a couple of trips up Rainier, my favorite mountain. A 3rd-degree ankle sprain had kept me away from the mountain for far too long, but I was fortunate in capturing many photos (despite the sprain!).  This year I will get back up there. Roll on Spring, I'm ready for another mountain trek.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Old Year Out, New Year In, and a Blog Resurrection

How embarrassing!  This blog has been completely neglected for more than a year!  Well this simply won't do, it's time to take it back out into the sunlight, shake the dust off, and put some new life into it!

Annas Hummingbirds with
Butterfly Bush. Commissioned
for Christmas.
2012 was an odd year, as election years usually are. In my neck of the woods, success at art shows and festivals during an election year can be sketchy at best.  I backed out of shows almost completely last year and instead devoted my energy to improving my technique and doing commissioned work.

Largely because of hobby photography during my hikes and whatnot last year and the year prior, I found myself almost subconsciously drawn to light - unusual light, dramatic light, back-light, the way that light streams through broken clouds and plays on a mountainside, the dazzling sparkle of early morning sunlight when it strikes only a few surfaces in a place still mostly steeped in night-shadow.  This has led to study and practice and attempts to portray such light in feather paintings, and in comparing the newer paintings to paintings of years past, I can see a gradual improvement in technique and quality. The attempts are not always successful of course, but it is a continual learning process.  That's what we all shoot for, isn't it? To try to make our work a little bit better than it was the year before?

With this incoming New Year, there will be ample opportunity for much more practice in this and several other areas I think are lacking.  And speaking of getting better,  I've set some pretty ambitious goals for myself for 2013. I will post about such goals later, but for now let me say that marketing is one of the things to be worked on. This blog falls under that.  Blog posts are going to be on Thursdays and on Mondays.  If I fall short, please - give me a nudge, hold me to it!  Habits need hard work in the beginning in order for them to take.  Writing needs to become a regular habit and the blog must have consistent updates if it's to be of any use.

Wishing you all the best in 2013!  Bliadhna mhath ur!! (Scottish Gaelic for Happy New Year, something else I've been learning lately)