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An Experiment

Evening Light                                                                                            


Over the years people have suggested to me that I’ve been holding myself back when I’m painting.  For a long time I was most interested in developing my skills in representing what I see out in nature so I can share it with people who don’t have the opportunity to get out there.  Lately, though, I’ve been wanting to let myself be untethered a bit more.  I remember one show I was in that featured acres of painters.  I walked on and on through all those tents and was alarmed to realize there was virtually nothing t0 set any of us apart from each other.  All of us possessed about the same amount of skill, and all of us were painting nature scenes that looked pretty much the same.  No wonder nobody was buying!

Also, I’ve been wanting to invite humans into my paintings, but in a general sort of way, not portraits.  So, here we have “Evening Light”.  It started out with drips and splashes and then got coaxed into a meaningful image.  I am not sure how I feel about it.  It sounds like it was fun to paint but actually I’m kind of a wreck.  It is surprising how hard it is to let go and try to reveal a vision.

Next scary thing~go out and face the mosquitoes and ticks to look for colic root.



13 thoughts on “An Experiment

  1. Looks pretty great for an experiment!

    I know what you mean, though. It sounds like it should be easy to let loose and just see what happens. But it’s been so long since we did that – since we were kids, some of us – that we don’t know how any more. I’m glad you’re trying it back on. 🙂

    1. By the way, I can really relate to what you are saying on your blog, but I can’t seem to find the comment button. Things have changed since I was last here in blog land! There is that darned change thing again…

      1. Change is everywhere right now! I don’t know where the comment box went, but I probably messed it up by mistake or something, haha.

  2. Good morning Michelle 🙂
    Exactly- it seems like it should be fun and easy, but whew!
    Hope your day is full of adventures

  3. Maybe a snapping turtle would add an experimental touch. 🙂

    Melanie made a resolution at the new year to focus on experimenting with quilt and fabrics. She is so good at what she does. It is very hard to make changes. It forces one to let go of the familiar and trust your intuitions in a new direction.

    I appreciate your efforts. Keep at it. You can do it.

  4. LOL!! Yeah, I suspect a snapping turtle would add an element of improvisation!
    You have perfectly describe what I’m feeling; I’ll bet Melanie’s quilts are a treat. Thank you for your support, Jim, that means a lot to me.

  5. Great experiment. Letting loose and doing something hard can be so difficult, but look at your result. I find this to be very ethereal. My eye was immediately drawn to the figure in the painting, before I read the text, and I thought to myself, wow this is really different. That would be different in a good way. Watch for the biting creatures. xo

  6. Hi Kim,
    thanks, I’m glad you like my experiment. Ethereal~ I like that.

    Haha~ I just clambered out of a sedge meadow looking for rare plants and was covered with ticks. ugh. But I did find a tiny orchid! 🙂
    Pardon me while I go check again to be sure I got them all…

  7. Change is usually good and usually not easy, I think. I’ve been thinking that I should find a new way to photograph flowers, but my old ways suit me so I am resisting change. As far as looking like everyone else and pursuing reality….it is interesting that you say that. One of the arguments I have heard regarding photographic reality and Photoshop is the idea that people don’t ask painters if things really looked like that. Since art should be the free expression of our feelings, emotions and reactions to our subjects, why is reality a key component?

    BTW, I noticed your comment about ticks and wanted to mention that since I started wearing the treated clothing, either self applied spray or the LLBean pants, I have not had a single tick on me. Well, just one…but it was DEAD!!!! 🙂

    1. In the 1970s and ’80s I did a lot of photographs that were both black and white infrared and 3-D. It was an unusual combination but I liked it, and one part of the appeal was that no one else was working in that niche.

      I’ve been photographing native wildflowers for 15 years, so I share your eagerness to find new ways to portray them. It’s easy to continue doing the same thing, and habit often wins out, but novelty has its place and I occasionally experiment.

    2. That is good to know, about the treated clothing. A dead tick is good…
      as is change.
      You make a good point about photo-realism. I just attended an artist reception in which all of the art was extremely realistic. I kept thinking it looked dead in a way it wouldn’t have in a photo. But I noticed that all of the visitors couldn’t take their eyes off the paintings, they were so wowed by the perceived difficulty of making things look photographic.

  8. Sorry to hear you’re a wreck, because your human figure in nature works fine for me.

  9. That is very welcome feedback, Steve. It feels like going out on a limb a bit but something I very much want to express in my work, the connection between humans and nature.

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