This morning I got up and headed over to the river, this pretty river is just down the road from where I live. Every time out I'm trying to learn and get better. For this one, the goal was to simplify. I've been so inspired by several paintings I've seen other artists do recently, and I really want to learn to get better at creating simple masses, large shapes, working with large brushes and adding in spots of detail later on, at the end. It's a real challenge to capture evergreen trees, unless you leave it as simple shapes, and just indicate what's happening very loose.
This week I took a 25 mile loop 3 day solo backpacking trip into the Goat Rocks wilderness area in the Cascade mountain range in Washington. Such a beautiful location. It was a very hard climb (at least for me). I also recently purchased a light-weight plein air painting set-up from ProlificPainter.com and was anxious to try it out. It was a pretty amazing trip, with gorgeous sweeping vistas, and beautiful wildflowers in bloom.
Here's a shot of a large river painting I've currently got on my easel. Making good progress on it I think. Pretty much only painting a few hours a week, so I do move fast on it when I get the chance.
The idea for this one came as I was running along the trail by the river, and noticed this spot with some really deep areas and such clear water. I could tell there were large rocks, but also just a lot of depth that I thought looked really interesting. I wanted to go large with it, to really pull the viewer into the water and the mystery of what might in there.
Why Guinevere? Well, after not painting much last year at all (mostly focused on writing the book), but also feeling a little lost artistically... Amy and I visited England for the 2nd time. We visited several galleries in both London and Oxford. After spending several days looking at all kinds of art I felt most impressed and inspired by some of the different Pre-Raphaelite paintings we saw. I was really moved by their ambition, their patience, the obvious planning, effort, and time that went into these images.
Amy Jo and I have been enjoying the National Wildlife refuge in Ridgefield WA, which is not far from our home (just a few miles away). I guess I got inspired to try my hand at some wildlife painting. Typically I haven't thought about painting wildlife, but driving around this place and seeing so many different animals - mostly birds - in their natural habitat is thrilling. I love nature.. love learning about it, reading books and watching nature shows.. and of course being out in it.
A few months ago the library approached me and said they were interested in acquiring some of my paintings. I've had a couple solo shows there over the past few years, in the Swift Gallery which is part of the library. They said the shows got such positive response that they felt maybe they should get some of my work to fill some of the empty wall space! This library is fairly new, it was just built within the last 5-6 years or so.
I've been asked to be a presenter at a local career fair again. Our church puts on a pretty big career fair targeting youth ages 12-18 at a local high school, and it's often well attended. I was surprised be asked a couple years ago when I did this the first time, and overwhelmed by the positive response. There must have been around 600-700 kids there, and I was the only artist among the presenters (which worked out great for me!). Tons of young people were interested in both looking at my art, and learning how to make a career in the arts...
I listened to this story on NPR yesterday about the interesting change in our musical tastes.
"...unambiguously happy-sounding music has become, over time, to sound more like a cliche.