Wednesday, November 26, 2014
A 9x12 pastel of the Hopper long view.
Robert Hass in his essay on "Mary Austin and The Land of Little Rain" writes, "Paysage moralise is the name art criticism has given to the fact that, when human beings describe a landscape, in words or paint, they are usually, perhaps inescapably, describing a vision of the world." Vision, from the above French term, means a moral view. I'm not sure what my landscape "vision" is yet. Elsewhere, in an essay on the poet Robinson Jeffers, Hass writes, "It seems to be the fate of American poets to reinvent the religions of their childhoods in their poetry." As always, substitute "painting" for "poetry." This might be a clue.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
A large painting, 18x24 inches, oil on canvas, of the Haley Farm barn at the end of Hopper Road. You can see the barn in the painting showing the whole Hopper area done a few days ago. I was struck by the sunlight illuminating the barn, but also by the ladder going into the barn. You can see the old truck on the left just above the cute old tractor.
I've been reading an essay by the poet Robert Hass on the landscape photographer Robert Adams. Hass writes, "We live our lives, each of us with differing but usually deep attachments to place or to an idea of place, while forces larger than our lives are changing those places faster than we live them out. There may be places in America... that have not changed much in our lifetime. But for most Americans change and loss are part of the landscape we hold in mind and have anesthetized ourselves to. Many of the forces of change have been destructive. Some, at least, have made a possible life for people excluded from the pastoral romance of an earlier republic. It's our task to make of this as we can what we can. But first we have to be able to see it."
The Hopper is a locale that has changed much, but still gives the impression of being old and stable. I spoke recently with a park ranger, who was on his day off and planning a quick hike up the Hopper trail. He talked about the feeling of an old place evoked by the Hopper, but then he told me that the barn was fairly new, the old one having burned down. New or old, there is so much to see.
Monday, November 24, 2014
I've been sitting on this pastel for a few days, another in the Hopper series. It shows one side of the trees that line both sides of the tree-lined aisle leading to the hiking trails. I wanted to show the sky on the other side where it becomes visible at the upper left. The Hopper is actually hidden by the glowing branches in the center. I have one more large painting to complete.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Monday, November 17, 2014
This time the large painting on my easel was completed (or feels completed at this moment) on the same day as the pastel. The painting is a 12x24 oil on panel of another view of the Elysian field at the Hopper, while the 9x12 pastel shows the trail path, which is inside the trees that are on the left of the oil painting.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
This was the painting on my easel, a 12x24 oil on panel. It depicts the Hopper late in the afternoon, as the sun streams over the mountain from the far upper right behind my shoulder to illuminate the trees and the Elysian field next to them. The two hay wagons remind us that this is really a mundane hay field, not a place of the gods. Except it feels so much like a holy place.
Friday, November 14, 2014
There's a larger painting on my easel but this isn't it. This is a 9x12 pastel of the Hopper from the field to the left of the beginning of the hiking trails, where the trees hide the bottom of the 'v'. This view shows the sunlight late in the afternoon penetrating the trees from the right.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Both are 9x12 oils, the first on canvas, the second on panel. If you approach the Hopper straight on, it is formidable and not necessarily paintable, so I move to the sides to find objects, whether trees or ridges or shadows, to offset its imposing starkness.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Monday, November 10, 2014
Lately, I've been obsessed by the Hopper. This afternoon I did a small oil sketch, but the paint's too thick and wet to photograph. This is an 8x10 pastel from mid-morning. I am hoping to get to a point where I can attempt a large painting. But the Hopper, even though it's so large, may only work as a small image. I did finish another large painting, but am letting it sit for a day.