Painting How I Feel

When deciding what to paint, I sift through my many landscape photos. I'm looking for interesting shapes of valleys, mountains, trees. But I'm also looking for emotion. How did this place make me feel?

Sometimes, that feeling translates very differently than the general reference photo.

It may take on a different type of weather or time of day, or perhaps alternate season, in order to reflect the emotion I want to convey. For instance, take a look at this beautiful reference photo taken by my brother, Miles, my personal ;) beloved photographer (hi bro...):

I was immediately drawn to this photo because of the interesting cliff horizon line and band of basalt. I loved the shapes of the land created by water drainage and shadows. But I also felt a strong connection to this photo. I had grown up near the area, Owl Creek, in Colorado. My family and I spent many, many hours camping and hiking this favorite spot. Emotions tugged at me. I envisioned summer days, digging for rocks and bugs in the creek, smelling the flowers, picking out track sign, scanning for bears, elk, deer, martins, and birds. Hiking quietly through the trails. Ahhh...and the butterflies.

This was the feeling I wanted my viewers to experience. So I changed the season:

In order to get that summer warmth feeling and the carefree happiness of playing in nature, I chose a warm color scheme of green and brown. Still highlighting the cliff bands and valley ripples, I imagined summer vegetation and the playful suggestion of a stream, welcoming feet into it's pebbly coolness. The large foreground space brings you in, and makes you feel immersed in the summer soil right at your toes. Do you feel it? Breathe deep and inhale that childhood memory.

By changing colors, seasons, vegetation and shapes, I pull emotions from the landscape, and tug at your memories.

Wordless Wild, 30x20, $1,400 original mixed media on board. Available at the time of this post. Inquire to purchase. Poem written within work talks about the wild not having words; the unwritten pages spreading themselves out in all directions. From March '79 by Tomas Transtromer