My current landscape paintings, thickly painted in oils wet into wet, are sheer joy and celebration. I paint quickly mostly with palate knives or tools like cardboard chips. What I enjoy is capturing the energy of nature in color, texture and gesture rather than any formal rendering precepts like perspective, drawing, shading that would make the landscapes realistic. Bold highlights are added last, to create pop.
Most of the landscapes I’ve done this way are very small, 5 x 6 inches, on canvas paper, and done in plain air. I mount several blank canvases to a large board and begin, working on several simultaneously. “Counting Weeds” 16 x 20 inches, was done in the studio one afternoon after having spent hours earlier that day weeding. It began almost unconsciously, because I had a blob of green paint on my palate from other work, and after a few hours it accurately documented the feeling of that activity.
I have spent countless years in the Catskill Mountains and live in the Hudson Valley. The magic of that is the overwhelming, inspirational beauty of the landscape here, made most famous by The Hudson River School. It is impossible to ignore the landscape and the light. I have photographed and painted it for years and years, but until I started working this way have felt the output of my landscape work was trite, overexposed, predictable.
There are two series in Landscape from the past that share the same aesthetic that currently guides me: “Tahiti Watercolors”, 1980 and “Full Moon Walk in the Catskills” 1996.
I do not paint landscape often, but when I do I turn to it for refreshment and energy, like turning to a glass of water when you are really thirsty. I hope the landscape paintings I do reflect the gift that landscape is to all of our souls, wherever we live.