I choose painting with oils for a variety of reasons. Primarily because of the extended drying time which allows the painter to continually mix colors, both on the palette and on the canvas. While painting wet into wet, the painting seems alive with possibility and the resulting colors are seemingly limitless. Once dry, the possibilities are much more limited as subsequent glazing changes the look and feel of the painting and compromises the archival quality.
There’s not much to say about landscape painting that hasn’t already been said decades ago. The value of doing it goes far beyond the paintings themselves. I learn something from each one. The atmospheric conditions in the Pacific Northwest are so diverse and are constantly in motion. There’s always something surprising. The hard part is learning to be patient and selective, to seek out the places that I find most striking, however commonplace they may be.
The marshes and refuges of the Willamette Valley are subjects I continue to revisit year after year. The wetland environment really fills the senses and provides valuable nourishment for sense memory, filling the unconscious with vibrant colors, organic shapes, the visual language of life. Nature is rhythmic, spontaneous, and full of patterns to choose from. There is, however, so much complexity that one must interpret what they see and develop their own “form language.” Each of us accumulates a unique database of images and colors tied deeply to emotion and memory. While I certainly utilize art theory in my work, I still view each painting as an experiential journey, guided by feelings and memories.
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