During my hikes in the wilderness behind my house in Duluth, I've found myself drawn to elements in the landscape that I had previously taken for granted. Rocks. Majestic mountains get painted all the time but rarely does someone paint the smaller rocks found along trails and streams. I've been trying to incorporate more rock formations into my landscapes as of late because the rocks are so prolific in my area that it just seems like they belong in the composition. But, alas, people don't really notice them. They don't jump off the canvas, they're just there. And I don't want the rock formations to just be there, I want them to grab your attention just like the trees and skies I'm becoming known for do. I've been going back over reference photos and I've realized that I haven't been painting the rocks very ... what's the word ... authentically.
The rocks in the photos are covered with lichens and moss, not to mention leaves and sticks yet I've been focusing on their form and not so much their texture. This is just one of many things artists agonize over while they are working. People think we just paint pretty pictures but it's more than that, it's expressing yourself on canvas while being true to your subject matter and yourself at the same time. The image created must speak to the artist and I've often believed that if the work of art connects with the one who created it, it will also connect with it's audience. It's funny how the paintings that have quickly sold were also my favorites and I found myself not wanting to part with them. But I'm happy to be able to share my gifts with others, and the thought that my artwork brings the beauty of the land where I live to people's lives, then it makes the struggle of trying to capture the image inside of me on canvas all that more rewarding. It's this struggle that I've been facing lately, what to paint, how to paint it ... along with the change in seasons from colorful autumn leaves to bleak blue winter skies and endless oceans of white snow covering the ground like a thick blanket until the vibrant greens of spring and summer wake the land from it's slumber to produce life yet once again. I'm working on a couple 12"x12" studies at the moment, wrestling with those beautiful rocks in anticipation of incorporating them into a large 48"x36" canvas. Please return soon. God bless.