Susan Luckey Higdon is fascinated by swirling layers of water, reflections, the fish that live below the surface and the birds that wade and fly above, and the stones and fallen leaves and needles along the bottom. She explores this theme in her October show of new works at Tumalo Art Co. in Bend, Oregon, opening October 7, from 4-8pm during the First Friday Gallery walk.
Using acrylic on cradled birch board, Susan’s paintings capture the complex interactions of color and pattern in what she describes as natural abstractions. “My actual rendering style is impressionistic and fairly representational. But I like to abstract the image using composition. By framing the scene in an unusual way the viewer becomes caught up in color and pattern.”
I am fascinated by how fish look swimming in the water. They are naturally abstracted. Moving fast they are there and gone in a flash. Trying to take a photo of them to paint from takes patience, but worth is it. Often the images show reflections and other details I haven’t noticed while keeping my eye on the fish. These lead to a multi-layered painting.
This new painting is from photos taken last fall at the headwaters of the Metolius River in Central Oregon. The Metolius is spring-fed and literally bubbles up out of the ground. Kokanee (land-locked sockeye salmon) travel up the river to this spot to spawn every year. I wanted to capture the iridescence of the Kokanee flying through crystal clear waters.
After a bit of an unintentional break from painting, I’ve finally gotten a couple of new ones done. When I haven’t painted in a while I tend to do something different…this acrylic painting of a heron up in the top of a tree with dramatic lighting has been in my head for awhile. I took the photo a couple of years ago and imagined the heron with billowy, just before sunset clouds behind it. The name “Omen” came to me too. Sometimes the name starts the process.