The photo of me is from late summer early fall of 2020. At that time I went to the site twice but didn’t have enough time to finish until this week. The finished painting is on the right. Hopefully it will dry in time for my show next month.
Yes, I’m looking forward to showing my work at Sweetwater, a restaurant that has an art program here in Dillon. The owner of Sweetwater loves to hang and organize work but said she doesn’t choose the work. You would think there was already a theme since I mostly paint landscape on site in the surrounding area but I wanted to see if there was something more in the work. It’s hard to be objective at times so I invited several people in to help me winnow it down. One way to see them is by seasonal divisions. It became a place to start. Clearly seasonal patterns are changing. Even so I continue to look to nature for reasonable order. This was an extraordinary year for weather and change. Settling in on these thoughts has me looking for what is regular.
Winter looked like fall but colder. The painting above came in January this year on a rare snow day. I bought snow pants to keep warm and experimented with gloves. I also discovered that my oil paint stiffens up when working outside in the cold air.
Spring came into view but it got hot early and pushed us into drought conditions before summer. I painted this painting in early May. While there may have been some green on the ground it was barely visible. I embellished the foreground wanting to see signs of spring. The big cloud in this painting didn’t give us rain that day.
As July and August dragged on so did the smoke from wildfires across the west. The mountains were like ghosts. One day I went to a nursery and greenhouse with my sister. I asked permission to paint there. The owner said yes and what a stroke of luck because I could paint outside despite the smoke. This painting was done in late July surrounded by trees and groves of potted flowers. They had enough water to irrigate and the place was a lush green. The owner said it was a great year for flowers. No one seemed to mind me being there. I found it challenging, though. With my background in botanicals, it was natural to get drawn into the detail of these beautiful plants. But painting plein air is concerned with light and atmosphere. Also the paintings demanded greens. Looking at green and recording what you see outside can play tricks with what I see and what my mind tells me is green.
We have come full circle and now fall colors are beginning to appear which brings on a whole new color palette and with it change. What is your favorite season and palette?