With last Monday a holiday, and a big snowstorm, and then some more snow, it has been a wonderful long stretch in the studio. I am trying to focus in on a few themes: the mountain, my memory of the stillness and the whiteness, the cold, transparent atmosphere. The grazing horses and the simple fence that traces the contour of the fields, the distance to the mountain.
Now there is a cold, transparent atmosphere here in Philadelphia. It seems to be keeping me in the mood to follow this train of thought.
At a standstill on some paintings recently, I began to draw. Maybe the simplicity of black and white will help me focus on the image I can see so clearly in my mind’s eye. Mountain forms and memory. It’s not an easy thing to pull an image out from inside oneself, so different from landscape painting, looking out and reflecting back. I want to step outside to re-set my eyes (and my vision) by looking at the mountains all around me, but that’s not where I am right now, so… I thought I would start doing some woodcuts and see if they get me any closer.
Here it is, 16 x 20, in its current state:
What makes printmaking so wonderful is that by taking proof prints as your cutting progresses, you create a record of its evolution. Here is an earlier state:
And a shot of the woodblock after its first inking. The scratched lines show up very well.
More space: I reorganized my studio to accommodate an easel. I never needed one before, but since my residency in Iceland I’m painting in the studio, and painting larger.
More time: I changed my work schedule to have a more consistent studio practice in the afternoons. Now I’m off and running, happy to start the new year with several paintings in progress.
I’m picking up where I left off with the Icelandic mountain forms, the dream mountains, the snow covered mountains. I’m still working on these paintings, but here they are in progress. All 3 are based on memory, exercising my inner eye. The first two are 12 x 16 and the bottom one is 16 x 20.