Source of the Appeal

What is the quality I seek in mountain images? What features? Mass. Weight. Largeness. Diffusions of light. Rolling forms. Linear patterns, lines that snake through the whole scene. Sensation of near and far. I am guessing. I am not altogether sure what the appeal is for me.

I don’t live near any mountains. I get source pictures for mountains from internet photos or books. More and more, I begin to make them up. Or I alter a photo source until my picture looks increasingly unlike its original. I ask myself if it’s real mountains I want or pretend ones.

Mountains have time in them. They’re old. Even “young” mountains are old (to us). Mountains suggest permanence. Jesus compared faith to moving mountains. In every religious tradition the mountain top is the place of visions.

Artistically, the forms are closely related to drapery. The old masters with their drapery studies might have been inventing mountain ranges. Gravity is the key in both instances — and light.

You can, like Albrecht Durer, punch a pillow and create some mountain ranges to draw. Or like Richard Dreyfuss’s character in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, you can make mountains from your mashed potatoes. They are closer than you realize.


Ever water and light, ever green and pink

You probably never would have guessed, but even I cannot paint night and day.  No! It’s true.  (Well, I can understand you’re incredulous.)

Anyway, sometimes I must resort to raiding my storage boxes for old works so that I can keep writing a painting blog.  Thank goodness, I squirreled away lots of pictures for a rainy day.  Well, not that it’s raining.  Actually we’re having perfect pre-autumn weather in the Washington, DC, region.  I digress.

As I was saying, this is an old painting.  Don’t know when I painted it.  It’s that old.  (Not me, it.)  I set some green stuff into a jar, set the jar on a yellow pot holder and the pot holder was already setting on a pink cloth.  I started painting.  Painted this. 

Afterwards it seemed to me like a metaphor for creating a whole little world in a jar.  Water, held in glass, green things growing, light and air, and more light.  My little jar of the microcosmos.  And here’s a virtue of painting.  The thought is still there.