After a couple of months of really hard work, I am pleased to show you the finished paintings I created for "Landmarks," the annual fall show at Christopher Queen Gallery.
These pieces were all created from photos that I took on location. I dug deep in to my archives for some of these places, such as the one of Sedona. I took that picture back in 2010. I have painted from some photos of that trip before, but I have improved as an artist plenty since I first tried to paint from them.
I enjoyed reminiscing about each trip while painting these scenes. I can't pin down the Big Sur piece to any one trip since I've been there so many times, but I get the feeling of the marine air when I see this scene.
I upped the contrast of the Sedona piece. This was a late-winter scene where there was an impending rainstorm. I glazed some of the shadows to get a better "spot-llt" look to it. This was to increase the drama and attract your eye to it more.
I remember being struck by the soft hazy evening light on Yosemite. It's not the way most people would typically picture Yosemite since it's usually photographed mid-day with clear blue skies. Having soft evening light I hope evokes a different mood that connects with you.
There is a balance between awe and subtlety that I strive for in a painting like this. The colors are somewhat muted even in the most colorful area. The size and scale of the piece will be what draws you in; the color and subtle light and dark modulations will be what you live with the longest. This is the type of story I tell without using words.
Every time I look at the one of the Minarets in the Eastern Sierras, I instantly get transported to my week I spent on Lake Ediza just painting and hanging out with artists friends from sun-up to sun-down. It was one of those magical truly-happy vacations that nourishes an artistic soul. I highly recommend spending time deep in the mountains away from all of life's distractions for at least a few days.
This painting of Zion Canyon probably had the most dramatic change from the reference to the painting. The river in the painting was actually a mud brown! Therefore, I had to create the color for the river myself. My favorite part of the painting is actually the atmospheric recession of the cliffs as they go back further and further into space.
This was my only trip to the Grand Canyon so far. I really lucked out with the amount of drama in the skies when I was there! It was entirely too short of a trip to take in the enormity of the area, but at least I got some killer pictures of thunderstorms to base this painting on. The reference was a composite of a few pictures, and I used some glazing to create compositional paths within the piece.
One of my goals in a painting like this is to inspire awe. I don't want this piece to be merely a pretty picture to fill up wall space. I would like to evoke the enormity of the landmark in order to engage you as a collector. This I hope will continue to mature through the life of your collection.
Even though we've all seen tons of pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, the challenge was to take something that is so postcard-esque and create a more painterly picture out of this subject. I had more fun as a painter doing the cliffs, because that's more my thing, but the piece didn't really come together until I painted the lights.
It's one of those things that's hard for me to explain in words when a painting isn't quite working yet. It's that eye-to-brain connection that is crucial to me as an artist to cultivate, but it will pay off for you when you're able to listen to it. This piece needed that extra oomph, andI figured out that it was the beefing-up of the lights.
Here is the information for the show:
Christopher Queen Gallery Opening Reception Sunday October 6th, 2019. 1-3 in the afternoon
#4 John Orr's Gardens, Duncans Mills CA 95430
The show is up through December.