This has to be one of the most difficult paintings I have worked on. As I have said many times: I am not a landscape painter. Not a good one, anyways. But I have been painting a lot of landscapes recently and I always feel like I am way outside my comfort zone, but some of my recent landscapes I am pretty happy with! But it takes a while to see them with fresh eyes. Now, this one is different. I have to use a lot of imagination and I must remind myself to add layers upon layers of paint to create depth and texture. And it takes a lot of patience to keep working when it looks flat and ugly. This piece has been sitting in my studio for a long time and I have been avoiding it, but now I am at work on it again and am actually enjoying it! I have no idea if it will turn out ok, but that does not really matter so much. I just consider it a good practice in painting. A long way to go still…
Not much has been done in the studio lately, but I am back and things are happening again. I have been distracted by ranch life and my new passion: horses. I have to admit I am getting a bit obsessed about learning as much as I possibly can about riding and being around horses. I am a late beginner and there is a LOT to learn. Last week at the amazing Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch, I helped ranch hand Trevor move the cows from a remote area on the ranch back to green pastures and water. It has not rained since September and it is dry out there. I am riding the Morgan horse they have had at the ranch for some years. His name is Little Dan, but I have re-named him Rambo, since he can be rambunctious – he has hardly been ridden in the past two years and he needs a lot of re-training. He is a beautiful horse! The last picture is showing young cows around some bales of hay – seven of the heifers will be ours tomorrow!
Here are finally pictures from my ongoing show at Hunt Modern in Santa Fe. Lauren Hunt buys high quality, collectible furniture from Europe and does careful restoration and sells them here, to people who know to appreciate these treasures! I am very happy to have a solo show in her classy showroom and I am very pleased with how the art and furniture complement each other. Enjoy these photos!
It takes time to work on the subtle stuff, but I have also worked to prepare for a surprise opportunity. On Friday November 10 I was have an opening for a solo show at Hunt Modern in Santa Fe, which is a very elegant store/gallery for modern high end furniture. A lot of Danish, Swedish and other European furniture, all vintage, all in top condition. I am very happy for this opportunity and have prepared most of my works that I have here in the studio. It is going to be very empty, so I will have to work even harder. I have washed my brushes and will take a break to go to Mc Elmo Canyon in southwest Colorado. I will mainly work with the horse in this painting, training him to become a friendly, cooperative and ridable horse again. Of course I will have good help and guidance from an experience cowboy!
I am making progress! I am starting to have fun! I am starting to feel like I can work this out! But still a lot of work remains to be done. I have to go over the horse again, all the face have a lot of work remaining, the collar on the boy, the girl’s dress and more! And then comes a challenge: the mother has a tiny brooch and it has a portrait of a sister, mother or friend. That is going to be the tiniest face I will ever have painted.
It should be easy. Or not? Well, it isn’t. I am in the “free fall” stage now. Slowly building up layers… the first are so flat and ugly. I have not done a painting like this in a while and I can’t remember feeling such despair before. It takes Patience, Courage, and maybe even Passion – since there is nothing I would rather do. So I will just keep falling and see where it takes me. This piece is 80 x 120 cm. A LOT of work to do before it can be judged. So come back and follow this project.
I worked hard on the second part of the large Line triptych last night. The two wide sections are graphite, made with w soft pencil. Then I painted the other lines with different sheds of black (Chromatic, Ivory, Van Dyke Brown, etc.) as well as Indian Red and Caput Mortuum. This morning Andrea and I pulled off all the tape, which is a cool experience. Now I am doing the third part.