THE LANDSCAPE RECONSTRUCTED
Landscape has traditionally been a frozen image, contained by a rectangle or square, as if one were looking through a window. To me, the landscape is more alive than that – more dynamic, more active. There are weather and clouds and a lower sun (at this latitude) that has a distinct and different effect on light. Coloration and shadows are constantly moving, nothing is static. Storms come and go and wind changes directions. There are real seasons where foliage changes. All of this makes you want to move “out of the edge” to create forms that reflect these constantly changing shapes and colors.
Nothing in nature stands stillIn addition I no longer look exclusively at the landscape from the ground, where the horizon, the sky, and the traditional rules of perspective are so important. Airplane travel now allows us to look at the landscape very differently. Looking down instead of outward, I find the horizon and the sky’s negative space are no longer an issue. I am seeing unique design and patterning of water, terrain, and flora. Suddenly the geology becomes evident, so what is beneath the landscape is also meaningful. There is topography and ecology to consider, things we don’t normally think about when painting, things that can add importance beyond just the surface of a lovely scene. However, traditional landscape painting does offer unending opportunities for interpretation, where color, form, and space continue to be done in inexplicably beautiful ways and the overhead landscape has mainly been a device of the photographer, almost as a travel guide, instead of as an esthetic style. But I find that the free-shaped canvas and the overhead view offer a new perspective and a level of beauty that dramatically changes how we see the world. My attempts to reinterpret the landscape are not without conflict. After all, the primary goal is to make good paintings and not get carried away with a creative philosophy. The “shaped canvas” and the overhead perspective create enormous dilemmas in composition and in arranging “ambiguous space.” But this format has wonderful benefits. You can apply collage and use many media, reinventing surface design and space simultaneously.
THE COSMOS EXAMINED
Recently I started to imagine a new direction. I have become fascinated with the Hubble Telescope images and realized that my painting style might work well with those images. Also landscapes of other planets can be done without inhibition. My canvases, in addition to being free-shaped, could also become dimensional. Space was now more mysterious and offered great experimentation in composition and color.