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A Statement of My Process
Finding my unique “visual voice” for my landscapes occurred one day in the early 80’s when I was out painting a mesa near Chico, Ca. When the painting was done I was startled by the contrast. When I looked at my painting, though it was painted accurately, it felt like my awareness ran into a “solid wall.” The feeling was so different when I raised my eyes to look at the living landscape. There it seemed as if forms were more “porous” to my awareness—as if I could enter into them slightly where a deeper relationship and communication existed—so soft and gentle.
Then the delightful, challenging question came, “How do I paint that?” And thus my deeper exploration into landscape painting began. My first approach was to paint dark “windows” where the awareness of the viewer was invited to sink in, breaking up the sensation of impenetrable solid forms. Later, I would also add white rectangles as well as other effects of light, etc. to break up the sense of solidity further.
So now, though the development of my landscapes can vary, they do tend to follow a general pattern which allows for a more accurate portrayal of the life of the landscape. For those of you who have read the previous sections of this website, my process will be familiar. When I go out into a landscape, before I begin to paint, I experience the landscape, not only as form but predominately as energy—energy emanating from form. I also experience an energy in the scene that is totally independent of the forms there, holding the landscape and permeating it. It is a changeless energy, which in higher states of consciousness I have experienced as vast, universal—with a Will and Intelligence, something my logical mind cannot comprehend. The world itself is then often experienced as a hologram. All of it becomes energy. I explain this in more detail in the sections “Objects in a Dimension” (www.perception4u.com/dimension ) and “Objects in a Unified Field” (www.perception4u.com/unity ).
Once I feel the energy of the scene clearly, I do an abstract painting of it. After this step is done, I decide if I am going to continue to paint over the abstract on location or keep the abstract intact to bring into my studio to be photographed and brought into my computer.
The next step then, either on a new panel or over the abstract, is to paint the surface detail of forms of the landscape. But first I begin by feeling how the forms exist in a monumental way. To capture the sensations of this monumentality of the forms I distort the actual size and direction of the planes of forms, whether a mountain, a bolder or a building. (See my section on “The Force of Objects” (www.perception4u.com/force ). This stage is usually done as an outline with some hint of value. Once the outline is done I can begin painting the surface detail of the landscape accurately.
If I am doing the whole painting on location, once the “realistic” surface version is completed, I may break up the solid nature of the landscape with bold strokes and lines to bring forth the energy of the scene. The painting, “Colorado Canyon” is a good example of this. Or I may wipe away parts of the painting to reveal the abstract below which may have gotten covered over.
This is an intense moment in the painting process. Here the accurately rendered depiction of the landscape is sacrificed for a more accurate depiction of its energy. Here the painting can be ruined, but if this bold approach is successful, the painting can rise to a heightened level of energetic expression.
For those paintings I develop in the studio, I bring in both the abstract energy version and the realistic version into the computer, where I concentrate on the transparency of the realistic version, letting it fade through here and there to reveal the abstract underneath, carefully creating the subtle levels of transparency I envision and which come closest to capturing the energy I felt in the scene. Sometimes instead of an abstract, I will use a black background with simple energy lines, reminiscent of photos of sub-atomic particles. I also create lines and transparent rectangles to lay over the image. Here I often print out the image and take these printouts back out on location and make notes on what to alter and enhance.
Once I feel the image accurately captures the life of landscape, it is printed out on canvas and other washes and brush strokes are added in the studio. Eventually the whole canvas is painted over again. This brings back the life of the original painting that may have gotten lost in the printing process. This finished painted product I call a mono-print. It is one of a kind because the same image is never used again.
Colorado Canyon 10" x 8" oil on panel
Death Valley IX 41.5" " x 64" mixed media on canvas