Monday, February 18, 2008

Rock Circle -- A New Painting

Ever since I took the photo on which "Rock Circle" is based, I've wanted to paint it, but it didn't quite fit with my artistic priorities. Recently, partly in response to questions from my students, partly in response to several large painting commissions ("Byers Peak"; "Rock Tower"; "Water" and "Alpen Glow"), I've been exploring what "landscape",  "a Colorado painting", and a "western" painting might mean to me. 
In Cincinnati, where I grew up, one rarely gets the "long view" of a landscape. The streets wind and meander around the hills, often crossing each other numerous times like strands of DNA. In spring, summer and fall, foliage practically attacks from every side, draping the streets with color. I developed a focus on the immediate, the individual object, the close perspective.

Western paintings frequently focus on the long view, the huge tent of sky with its dramatic weather patterns, the uncluttered landscape with a few isolated cows and abandoned buildings. I decided to investigate my more intimate view of the area in which I've been living for many years.

"Rock Circle" is a group of rocks sitting in a stream, but they seem anthropomorphic, almost as if they are having a meeting. The rock forms suggest other worldly creatures, an unexpected intrusion of fantasy into my work.

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