Monday, February 20, 2012

Heart of Darkness

As I visited Full Circle Farm last fall to paint outdoor studies my strongest emotional impression of the farm was of sunshiny peace and shady chaos.

Farms need sunshine and cleared land for crops to grow. But Full Circle and many of the organic farms of the Snoqualmie Valley have protected and restored forested areas too. This painting shows Griffin Creek which is the restored salmon stream that runs through the farm. Unlike vegetables, salmon need shade and the overhanging trees, dead snags and tangle of underbush provide cool hiding places. It is quite wonderful.

And yet I am personally drawn to the sunny cultivated fields more than the wild and shady woodland. I wonder why. As I painted this I thought about the things this landscape symbolizes in my life. I thought about civilization vs wilderness. Culture vs savagery. And control vs surrender. I love the gentleness and peace of a managed environment. But I appreciate that my character also needs the unbridled - just as the earth needs its wilderness.

I might call this piece "Wild at Heart" though it isn't quite right. "Full Circle Farm" might be best. It is oil on canvas and measures 24x48 inches.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ribbon Seals

A ribbon seal was spotted in Seattle last month. They usually live in Alaska so I had never heard of them.

A little Photoshopping put them into a landscape. Some day I'll do a series about animals of the arctic, though I'm afraid it might be sad. I worry about climate change. (I know I should stop flying) Here is something I painted a couple of years ago about how the melting arctic weighs on my mind. It's called Polar Ice Cap. I try to laugh at myself...