About a year ago Georgio Cavatorti, publisher of the beautiful Italian based fly fishing magazine H2O, contacted me about having my fish art featured. The Spring issue just arrived and I got to see the spreads for the the first time! I feel honored and am so glad to see space given to art in a magazine like this. The article is in both english and italian and five paintings of native trout are shown in glorious color. Look H2O Magazine up online to see the whole pub. Order a subscription while you are at it.
A group of trout, swimming in yellow green waters, is my most abstracted painting of fish yet. The strong chroma between yellow and green makes an interesting backdrop to the swirling fish. I took the photo at a fish hatchery and then played with the color in photoshop, looking for the most interesting composition of the fishes shapes and contrast of color.
When spotting trout, or any fish, in their environment, it is magical, brief and mysterious. This painting of trout, in acrylic on birchboard heightens that feeling.
My wildlife paintings, whether fish, birds, wild hares or deer is always about interpreting nature’s beauty with color. “Trout Chroma” is the newest addition to my natural abstractions series.
The newest addition to my ongoing Natural Abstractions series is called Estuary Light. It is from an image I took last summer while camping at Spencers Spit on Lopez Island in Washington’s San Juan islands. The configuration of light and shadow, when cropped narrowly, becomes a compelling abstraction of the landscape. This was painted in acrylic on birchboard. I kept the strokes of paint immediate and took care not to overwork, keeping the color clear and strong. It was also important to me to let the warm color of the wood come through. This worked well in the mid area of mirrored water.
As I continue to explore this idea of composing landscapes in a small frame of reference, where the shapes become more than a description of an actual landscape and become a natural abstraction of the landscape, I get more and more excited about the possibilities.
Clearwater Gallery in Sisters, Oregon will open the second show in their series on Wild Rivers of the Northwest on February 26 and I was asked to contribute some art. Along with a soft pastel painting of Clear Lake, where the magical McKenzie River begins, I just completed a painting of Olallie Creek, a tributary to Oregon’s McKenzie River. I photographed the creek years ago on a day when winter snow run-off had swollen the creek to a raging torrent. The light fell through dense forest highlighting yellow green mosses. I think this soft pastel painting captures the movement of the stream as the crystal clear water races to the McKenzie River.
I am drawn to, and fascinated by, natures patterns. The information in every square foot of our landscape is overwhelming. Painting these scenes are uniquely challenging. How do I get the immediate feeling without painting realistically, which I would never have the patience for? This most recent painting, “Layers of Reality”, is a 40 x 40 canvas…it needed to be large. The subject, a still pool full of last years leaves creating a swirling pattern and layered with reflections of surrounding trees, was terrifying to me in its complexity. My only solution is to jump in, and paint intuitively letting the image evolve. When I was done I didn’t know how I felt about it or even if it was indeed finished. I showed it to my critique group, who pronounced it the best painting I had ever made! High praise from this group of painters. There are many more images in this series of paintings about natural abstractions in the landscape yet to paint, and I can’t wait learn what they have to teach me.