So I know what you think, I gave up on this blog stuff well, not exactly. Like all things life seemingly gets in the way for a while but I'm back at it again, this time more regularly, hopefully...
So I know what you think, I gave up on this blog stuff well, not exactly. Like all things life seemingly gets in the way for a while but I'm back at it again, this time more regularly, hopefully..
I've recently settled up in the western part of Maine for the summer right at the doorstep of the Bigelow Preserve, a perfect backdrop for hiking and painting adventure.
This brief period of blog inactivity was in part due to my settling in here. I've taken a job as "hut-master" at Maine Huts and Trails. An organization dedicated to preserving and exploring Western Maine. This opportunity has allowed me to support myself and my painting while living up in Maine.
This REALLY is hiking country (or skiing) and people here are (among other things) trail people. You can't really go to far any direction without hitting the A.T let alone countless other side trails. The hiking here is rough and rugged, one cautions step at a time, especially as you near the summits. At time one would do anything to just put one foot in front of the other normally. A big difference between hiking the trails of Western Maine and lets say the trails in the Smokies, is that up here it really is a "prepare for self rescue" type of deal. While the A.T. gets its fair share of traffic, other nearby trails don't and you'll be hard pressed to find a ranger on the look out for you or anyone else. This all culminates in a 'special' feeling when one is out there exploring.
This brings me to my point of how different settings, moods and experiences affect the paint. A clear example is to paint something when you’re sad and to paint something when you’re happy. The differences will most likely be endless. So if I see a striking landscape while I'm driving and I stop to paint, it's already going to have a different feel than if I was atop a mountain painting. Then add to that myriad of other variables such as, how rested I am, time of day, weather conditions, personal mood etc…
Additionally, I’m feeling more and more as though a work is ‘truer’ if I’ve experienced first hand what it is I’m painting. For example the stunning Bigelow Range sits right at my back door and I can paint it at any time I choose as easily as Monet and his gardens and lilies in Giverny. However, I hadn’t yet immersed myself into that landscape as Monet had done with his home and his landscapes. So for me, the painting constantly felt like a guessing game.
Now I’ve recently come back from a three-day hike in the Bigelow’s traversing some rough terrain camping out and summiting several peaks. Now as I go to start a new work, looking out upon the range I just came from there will be less guessing and more of a relationship between myself and the forest and mountains and a dialogue can now take place as the painting develops and a real truthfulness can hopefully be reflected.