Thursday, December 22, 2011
I painted this one immediately after the previous painting. Because Winona is on a part of the river that is going east/west, as opposed to the usual north/south, you can get some interesting views of the bluffs. Also because the bluff was covered in the frosty sticky snow I thought it a nice high key color moment. Looks beautiful but I was sitting in a grocery store parking lot looking up and away from civilization.
I had only a small window of time to paint this because I had to teach my final. Shouldn't I be prepping for my class you may ask? Well you don't have to prep so much when you know your shit.
This is a relatively famous spot on the Mississippi River.
Trempeleau Island, or I have seen it referred to on older maps as Mountain Island.
It is the only bluff that is an island on the whole Big River. Native Americans found this spot to be sacred, as do many people today. It is part of a state part in Wisconsin.
I painted this before my final, looking at it from Highway 61. Yes, that Highway 61.
I couldn't believe how much the snow was sticking to the trees that morning, had to paint it.
Also because of the hills there are many dead end roads and single lane roads that send you back into the hills. So unless you are really looking you can miss things.
I found this road just a few miles from home and this farm was at the top.
These are roads so remote that one car will pass me in the course of an hour.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
People tell me I am like Hopper. Well yes, this one looks like the artist I ardently studied in my early twenties. People used to grow quite a bit of tobacco in southwestern Wisconsin. In Ben Logan's book the Land Remembers they grew it not too far from here. Mainly Norwegians(like me). I discovered a tobacco shed in town this week as well, about a block from me. I guess tobacco is hard on the land so I guess I am not that sad to see that it isn't grown here too much anymore. But the tobacco sheds are visually interesting, and this outcropping of tobacco culture is in Genoa, just down the road. I like that is feels lonely in the painting. You can see the Mississippi River and the railway line on the left, shipping routes.
I draw inspiration from Hopper, but I never try to do a painting like anyone else, just the images of my spirit. Perhaps Hopper and I have a similar spirit. We talk about things in a similar language that is/was different than that of our contemporary artists. I find that academic/contemporary/installation artists sometimes don't take me serious because I am working in a traditional way. I think all you have to do is read my blog to realize I am not old fashioned, I am just me.
This is a great valley. The colors are wonderful right know. Just a little snow and still a little green, but just in patches. The ochres are stunning this week. This valley isn't always like this, because it is raining it is more atmospheric. Grass fed cattle rule these fields, I am glad they have a good home.
Seeing is very difficult. To really see things, which most people say I am able to occasionally do, requires all you got. And even then it just seems random. I can relate to an athlete or performer when I am painting, because I am performing. The hardest thing about the performance is the vision. Sometimes I can do the best painting I can possibly do and it is still bad. Other times because of the idea and vision behind it, it doesn't demand that I be a virtuoso. It took me the first painting until I was able to see the second. This happens so often. I have to be still, sit and take things in for hours and days before I get my rhythm. Sitting here posting this images for you isn't helping....
Smalltown Americana. There are plenty of things about Mid-America that people find deplorable, it is where I grew up and what I find poetic. I am convinced people are people, and at least hear I can be myself. I tried to paint before the Packer game this time.
This is a building right outside Stoddard that is no longer a working farm. There are some cool things about Stoddard, but one thing that is incredibly stupid is that we are are a rural farm community with no grocery store, just a gas station. So just like the suburbs and most places "we" as in the "Royal We" don't grow our own food. Consequently buildings like this are no longer working. Lame. Thankfully these building are being maintained. I love the red against the high key background affect.
Again from Thanksgiving. I will probably paint this bluff again. I am seemingly drawn to the abstract in all it's forms. Had to paint this quickly-late for Thanksgiving dinner. You can see the "unholy trains" as Mark Twain described them in the foreground.
Painting done on Thanksgiving. I heard stories about Norman Rockwell's wife getting uppity about how she had to drag him out of his studio to participate in the holidays.
I have the same situation as him, and a bad track record.
This few is south of town(Stoddard).
Sometimes I think about what I say on this thing and that people actually do look at it. Maybe I come across as a serious dude. I am. As an artist, or hopefully responsible adult, I feel I should be outspoken. But don't let that fool you. Just because I try really hard to communicate the beauty of our planet by trying to inspire people to take ownership and understand their actions, doesn't mean I don't have a sense of humor. Now the real point, because I have grown to hate winter and the last three can kiss my ass, I am vowing to enjoy this go around. It seems I am happy when I am outside, so I am doing a painting everyday for a hundred days. Sorry about Christmas in advance. So far I am 14 days in and have 22 paintings. Somedays I paint just one, sometimes a few. I will try to post 100, you will never catch me posting this much in the summer.
This is the first one, I can do better than this. I could tell I was out of rhythm, I think I am going to do a better one.