Thursday, March 26, 2009

Looking into Shadows and other Image Triggers

Iceberg Outlet
10 x 10.5"
Pastel on Canson Paper

Shadowed Face
14 x 10"
Pastel on Canson Paper

My upcoming show at the Studio Gallery is drawing near, and things are falling into place. My frames and glass are at hand, a catalog of my work is at the printers, and I'm finishing up the last paintings. The catalog will be available for sale on my blog, as well as at the gallery, and I'll post more information about that soon.

I find I keep returning to a few concepts that compel me to paint. One of them is the notion of seeing inside a shadow. When a shadow contains more than one value, it becomes transparent in my mind, not just a flat shape. This aspect, as well as the relationship of shaded colors to the illuminated parts of an image seems to be expressing some deep mystery of perception for me. A shadowed part of an image is a volume where one sees qualities that the illuminated parts of an image don't, or cannot, reveal: the color(s) of the ambient, or fill light, the bounce of local colors onto other surfaces — these qualities made apparent by the protective cloak of the shadow can often be imperceptible in direct illumination, yet they may be operating in those areas as well. Looking into a shadow is like peeking under the hood at the subtle, underlying components contributing to the overall color and illumination of an image. There's much much more that fascinates me on this topic that I've not articulated.

I'm also fascinated by water for a range of reasons, but I'll just mention an elemental one. I remember all the times as a kid, running around on beaches on the California coast, collecting shells and rocks, and putting them in a bucket. They were wet and shiny, and had brilliant hues. The next day, however, when I looked in the bucket, all my 'treasures' were pale and dusted with white. I had to fill the bucket with water to make the rocks look as good as they did at the beach! I no longer take the rocks home, and art supplies have replaced the bucket, but sometimes I still feel as excited and intrigued as I once did on the beach when I find scenes of water and rocks to paint.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Recent Work

Ediza Shore
10.5 x 10"
Pastel on Canson Paper

Here's one of the pieces I've been working on for the Studio Gallery show in April. I've flown over Lake Ediza in the winter and it is covered in ice. Funny to think of it in late summer, glowing luminous green in the morning. This was the view below my tent, where I would paint in the early part of the day.