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Into the Wild

JULY 13, 2009
With a several projects waiting for sketch approval I found myself with some time to work for myself recently. I decided to try to apply what I have been learning from doing my 20 minute paintings and take that out into nature, to work without photo reference and try to make some compelling images.

The movie director David Lean once said that after working on location on films like “Bridge on the River Kwai” and “Lawrence of Arabia” that he could ever go back into the studio again- it was like going down into a coal mine.  I think I am beginning to understand that sentiment- there is something exhilarating about taking some primitive stuff on your back and coming home with something new. It might not always work, but you always move forward.

I have had some interest in these pieces, and this time, rather than simply write it off as “Research and Development” and relegate the work to attic storage, I am going to explore some outlets to try to begin to show some of this work. I think it’s time.

I’m starting by sharing some of it here, I hope you enjoy it.


Mt. Tamalpias ridge west side
about 15 minutes in
after about an hour and a half, the temperature was approaching 100 degrees and I was done, in more ways than one. (you can tell the passage of time by looking at the shadows on of the rocks) This was my first successful piece of this series, I painted this on June 29th



Standing in mud and slime at 7 AM, the sun never really came out- the biggest challenge for me is to work without direct lighting...
Alpine Lake
Laguanitas Lake
Just to show my process, I do a very rough charcoal block in (about 2 minutes max), then paint over that sketch, push everything into place and then go for it. I work till the light changes or till I'm done, anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours. A lot depends on finging the right composition and light and interesting subject. To me, trees are infinitely interesting.
After about two hours. Time to quit.
West Ridge
When you go out with a plan it can be foiled by atmospheric conditions, Im trying to learn to work in flat lighting. This was a challenge...dripping fog, howling wind, and no light...
When the economy is bad and things are looking bleak, perhaps it is a good idea to take advantage of the situation and use the opportunity to do some work that isn't really driven by the market or art directed by a focus group. While this work isn't edgy, editorial driven imagery, its coming from a sincere part of me and I feel good about doing it and showing it. Im not sure where this will take me but I'm going to go along for the ride.