This blog is dedicated to the memory of my life partner of nearly thirty years, Dr. Howard G. Hanson-- artist, writer, musician, and teacher-- who with me celebrated a belief that we can achieve whatever we allow ourselves to imagine. This blog reflects the whole person that our lives together enabled.

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Tallulah Reflections and a Triad


"Tallulah Reflections"    10" x 14"   Oil on Canvas
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SOLD


 I decided to set up a challenge for this little painting:  to use no more than three colors plus white, no matter what.  I chose the following three colors.

It's been a while since I've done a painting using a limited palette.

For days I'd been stewing over this scene from the Tallulah River.  It was about mid-afternoon, but the sun was falling behind the mountains making it feel much later.  I was struck by all the warm and cool colors reflecting on the water's surface and as it always happens later in the day, the light was changing by the minute as were the colors.  I'd been stewing because those colors had me guessing what in the world was I seeing.  It was a good time to start subtracting from all the colors available and ask myself what was I REALLY seeing.

Greens, blues, golds, deep brownish reds, pinks and purples, so without much thought I decided on a triad of primaries:  a red, a yellow and a blue.  Sometimes the solution to clearing the clutter can be found in going back to the most simple thing you know.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wildcat Creek: A Sketch

A quick oil sketch of Wildcat Creek     8" x 10"    Oil on board
I am reading Frederick Franc's wonderful little book Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing.

And so this week rather than working on a single painting, I've been doing quick oil sketches focusing on opposing movements of the water and varying colors I see reflecting within an overall neutral environment.  Just that and nothing else.  I selected one of these to share in this week's post.

To study for the sake of study--to break away from old routines and stand bare in the presence of nature-- is to coalesce all the years of living and learning into an uncensored response.  What strikes me as revealing this week is how much more fun it is to play with pure childlike curiosity, giving myself permission to ignore any intellectual interference.  

Enjoy your Sunday.
Dianne


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Waters Rush, Rocks Stand Firm


"Waters Rush, Rocks Stand Firm"    18"x 14"   Oil on Canvas
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Although not where it ended, here's the scene where this painting began.


I was thinking about those multitudes of huge boulders along the Tallulah and wondering how far back in time they reach.  And about how torrents of water rush between them and at times, over them.  Barrels and barrels of water rushing and tumbling, crashing and splashing, then quietly pooling, still enough to collect foliage greens, tree bark grays and sky blues before crashing and bursting under sunlight into zillions of stark white bubbles, creating a sound so deafening you can't hear your own voice.  

All day long my brush was pushing paint with my eyes focused on those boulders while all along  it was the water I was hearing.  Then after the end of that long day of virtually non-stop painting,  I scraped down the canvas, turned it vertically, and started over.   It was the water that wanted my attention this time.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

An Enlightening Visit to York Falls

"York Revisited"    16 x 20   Oil on Canvas

This was supposed to be the painting of the century and that's the problem.

I sat at my computer for an hour last night trying to decide what to say about York Falls, the subject of this week's painting.  It's a lovely little falls, it's tucked between two ridges where sunlight has trouble finding it at certain times of the day, it's edges are clean and easy to maneuver thanks to the community of folks that give it constant attention.  So there's a lot that can be said about the little falls, but nothing seemed to click.

It didn't click because the painting didn't click.  It's an okay painting, but doesn't sing to me.  And the reason is that my attention to the falls was mediocre.  I got too interested in making it a superb painting, neglecting to delve into the falls and respond to the obscure little mysteries.  A painting can't sing if it comes from the wrong intention within the artist.

But there's an important lesson here that I hope I can remember:  when you try to make a good painting, when that becomes the purpose of the painting,  it can't be more than mediocre simply because it is being done for the audience, not the artist.  And who needs another good painting?  There are thousands of them being made every day!

What we need is for those of us who are artists to keep our intentions on our responses to the subject.  Otherwise, there cannot be an expression of our unique selves.  It's only when we really search out those things that brought us to the subject that we find what is unique to ourselves and only then can we express our own truth.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Back To the Tallulah

"Tallulah, Late September"      16" x 20"    Oil on Canvas
$230   SOLD
Here's the second in my new series of paintings, "In Praise of Mountain Streams."  My subject here is a small section of the Tallulah River, one of the few areas in our mountains that hasn't been invaded by real estate developers.  This river is the one place where Howard and I would go when we needed to recharge our creative muses--miles of roaring waters and huge boulders along side a narrow dirt road.

But it's not nostalgia that bring me back here, rather a trust that this is one place where nature is still in charge.  I need to know that.