Few subject matters allow for an artist’s exploration into shape, color and line than endless landscapes, while simultaneously providing the artist with a deep, intrinsic connection to the natural world. For many years, I was content to capture in landscape painting the slow, continuous deepening of the summer fields into a sea of green, as well as the spontaneous surprises in nature with a sudden flock over the field.
I worked furiously in acrylic on paper in an effort to capture the experience before the imprint was fleeting. Many times I was without a sketch pad or camera when a landscape beckoned to become a landmark of where I had been on my journey. I would stare at length upon the scene before me, then close my eyes and paint the vision in my mind where it would remain safely stored until a brush was in hand. Acrylic painting on paper suited the recollected flow of shapes and colors. I sought to interpret this memory with the pure innocence of the moment in which I experienced it. I did not concern myself with too much detail. I allowed myself to be struck by the simple beauty of the rich, purple shadow at the base of a round, brown hill against a soft, turquoise sky. At other times, I was struck by the textures of the wildflowers in a summer field beneath a brilliant, blue sky filled with wispy clouds.
Studies in nature paintings gifted me with deep gratitude for the ever changing beauty to be found in the natural world. The landscape was subject to endless transformations. Every season became an anticipated journey into both familiar and unexpected territory. I appreciated the stark, deep colors of winter in the Virginia landscape, but my heart soared with the colors of spring. One cannot even count or name all the shades of green that appear with the warmth of an Appalachian spring. There is a magical tipping point in both spring and fall when the colors of each season are overlapping. For a brief time, there is a fusion of these colors that are coming and going. The spring meadow is still displaying the burnt orange, winter grasses amidst the emerging shoots of vibrant green, and the naked winter trees are just barely clothed in hints of colors to come. There is color magic at this time when certain colors begin to fade and other colors begin to come alive with brilliance.
As summer finally sets in, the violets of the redbuds, the pinks and whites of the dogwoods have ended their spring show. The mountains and woods abound in shades of green and blue. The fields are alive in a multitude of greens until the golden hay bales dot the harvested land. By late summer, there is a cool wind in the corn with echos of the coming turn.
The Indian summer descends with a teasing warmth, before the cool air signals the green leaves to begin their brilliant transformation from life to death. I thank the summer trees for the life, shade and bounty they have given me. Their farewell is a gift with magnificent displays of wondrous color. The rich hues of gold, red and orange juxtapose the remaining green grasses of summer and the beautiful blue ridges. The colorful art of nature is no match for me as an artist, but I am moved by this magical fusion of life and death to capture this fall splendor.