It is insightful to me that both pieces were done in the field with strong focus and immediate enthusiasm for the subject. As a plein air painter, I often drive around casually searching for a 'spark' in my soul in response to what I am seeing. At times I have an idea of what I am looking for, but most often I just pull off the road and meander around with a sketchbook. Almost always, something strikes me as interesting... but sometimes, I cannot stop the truck soon enough...I am hooked from the first second! Both of these paintings were situations like this.
For 'January Thaw', I saw snow curling off of this roof every time I drove to town and the temperature got above freezing. I observed it many times, always curious about how I would paint that crease of snow. Then, one day, the sun struck through the trees lighting it up as if by spotlight and I had to paint... THEN! (Groceries are not always that important!) I had two good hours before I was in the shade and feeling uncomfortably cold - which was just enough time! I knew that time was of essence and got my notan studies down quickly. It was a day of complete focus and satisfaction!
'Just a Place' was initiated by the fact that a cold wind was blowing and I was desperate to get out of it. I hiked around a few locations before spotting the sun hitting this concrete wall... out of the wind! When I started sketching shadow and light, I realized that many angles were coming together in a gorgeous composition. I recently took a week workshop with Jill Carver where she stressed multiple times the importance of seriously problem solving ideas with mini sketches prior to painting... like doing MANY studies before committing to a painting. This concept really came to fruition for 'Just a Place'. By the time I had done multiple notan studies, I knew exactly what I was focusing on and how I was planning on achieving it. Snow was not even completely melted at this point so colors were neutralized and subtle. I had so much fun painting this!
All in all... you never know what will hit your soul with good focus... but when you find it... it is AWESOME!
The opening reception will be at Mary Williams Fine Arts in Boulder, CO on July 30th, 5-8pm. I hope to see you there!