Sunday, December 16, 2012

Work in progress / artists' studios / winter birds / wanting to work

When I looked out a little while ago this morning, I thought I saw a person with a brown corduroy jacket and yellow hat standing at the edge of Scudder Pond.  I thought I could see the figure moving.  When I got my binoculars out, I saw that what I had thought was a person's head was the few remaining bright yellow leaves on a small tree, and that the brown corduroy jacket was the tree's dark wet branches and trunk.  The blurred photo only gives a general idea of what I saw.  As I look out right now without binoculars, it stills looks to me as if a tall thin contemplative man is standing there on the trail.

The gouache and watercolor painting up at the top of this post is something I'm working on.  It's something about a dialogue at the ocean at night.  I think I like it better transformed by my computer into a black and white image.  I began working on it more than a week ago, while listening to music from my past, organized in chronological order beginning with music I heard when I was 10 years old or younger:

This week I visited the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham where I saw a traveling exhibit of California Impressionist paintings.  I was drawn to the landscapes of places familiar to me but much changed since they were painted so many years ago before California was so densely populated. The images below are of the California my Minnesota-born parents moved to in the late 1930s and early 1940s and that my father's father traveled through as a young man from Minnesota in the early 1900s. As far as I know, my grandfather only made that one visit to California and the West Coast, living the rest of his life in Minnesota, although he did visit relatives in Norway in his later years.

Arroyo Seco Bridge in 1912:

Arroyo Seco Bridge in recent time:

Today here in Whatcom County there is snow in the foothills to the east.  Here's the view from the porch this morning.  You can hear the Chickadees and Red-winged blackbirds singing:

"I definitely look for things to inspire me or to get me wanting to do work.  It doesn't come all that naturally.  The thing that's helped me the most has been figuring out when I could work best.  This thing about working best in the morning with nobody around, I figured out a long time ago.  If it weren't for that I probably wouldn't get half as much done."
(Dale Chihuly)


Taradharma said...

i think i like the color version of your painting better -- they are wonderful earth tones and the words stand out well.

That's a gorgeous paining of Arroyo Seco Bridge. The only area I know by that name is waaayyy out in Carmel valley, east of Carmel and Monterey.

We got snow here last night, just a dusting and it didn't stick, but it sure was pretty as it came down in late afternoon.

am said...

Wow! Snow in Sacramento! Makes me think that there must have been snow in the higher elevations of the coast hills, too.

Thanks for your thoughts on my painting.

Vagabonde said...

So you live in Bellingham? I have a blogging friend who lives there too – she takes long hikes in the mountains close by- it is so beautiful there. I had not heard the Ventures in ages. I bought the 45 rpm record when it came out – years ago when I lived in San Francisco. I saw your comment in The Solitary Walker and came to say hi.

bev said...

Both versions of your paintings are wonderful. The original painting is beautiful, but the b&w computer version probably has a stronger graphic quality. It seems like it would be a terrific piece for a book.

So neat that you posted the little movie clip of the painting in progress in your studio with the music you were listening to while working.

Sometimes I see shapes within landscapes too. Whenever it happens, it always makes me think of my elderly friend, Bill, now deceased. He used to point out shapes to me. One time, he showed me a man's face wearing a hat that he said was looking through the hedge at his house - some dried leaves and a tree trunk showing through an opening in the cedar branches.

So interesting to see the painting of the Arroyo Seco Bridge along with the recent photo. Such paintings remind us of how much we reshape nature - and of what we have lost in the process.