Mount Arikaree and Arikaree Glacier are the subject of this painting. I’ve summited this 13 thousand foot peak more than 20 times. After the last ice age 10,000 years ago, the glacier retreated into its cirque. Glacial meltwater passes through the talus field to emerge on the low shoulder of the mountain with only 1 part per billion of sediment- some of the cleanest water imaginable. Colorado State University’s Alpine Research Center is based in this glacial watershed, and last year they predicted Arikaree Glacier would be gone by 2025, with the sister valley’s Arapaho Glacier meeting its end soon after. I was the protector of these glaciers and their watersheds from my 18th birthday though to my 30th; I kept individuals from leaving physical footprints and infecting the watershed with giardia, but all the billions of humanity’s footprints are stomping it into oblivion now. While painting I’m streaming interviews with arctic / antarctic scientists, biologists documenting the 6th Mass Extinction, investigative climate journalists, climate activists such as Extinction Rebellion, Dark Mountain poets and authors; keeping my head in the game of reality while memorializing the heart of the mountain, already so much smaller, and ever smaller, and gone. Climate Collapse is finally obvious in everyone’s back yard, and if your back yard is alpine wilderness, it is already over. There is a white-hot place in my mind now that wasn’t there in my patrol days, a spot the glaciers kept cool, and now with them dying- it is a strange inescapable light, an ultraviolet long wavelength, a wave form of oblivion.
The first Broad Canyon Fire painting was dark and had the sun in it; this one glows with sunlight but does not have the sun. This image views the fire from the side, while the former is a view of the fire just before passing through/under it. This was the logical companion/complement to the original painting, and a strong enough choice to stand with the original work. It may be that these two works are as far as this series can go and retain pure authority to the subject and themselves and each other. Each must have its own necessity or it becomes derivative.
The artspeak is likely just an attempt to be able to quit, as the process of transparent washes and semi-opaque layering is burning through my creative patience; i.e. this takes forever and requires allowing the painting to pass through many stages of layering to build to where it finally comes together- and it is difficult to keep this all in balance and not lose focus on the whole for the parts for the days-long processes to effect a subtle change upon a subtle change to move the work along. Yet global warming says I’ll have the full sunroom for awhile yet before I have to move the trees and plants back in off the deck, and so the theme of beautiful armageddon under the global warming sun can push me further than I would like as well…plus, they are really something in real life and my love/hate of the process may just have to suck it up as this is about making Art. The finished paintings have a life of their own, which is rare; and respecting this is an artist’s responsibility to work toward the quiet and invisible thread of direction that seems to bring itself into being.
BTW it looks totally different in person, – moodier and the layers are subtle and the colors less obvious. Reminds me of way back when showing slides to students.
Redo of the last post with an image 5x denser; the sun is now red and the vaseline view is clarified.
This is ten days of painting, but who’s counting…
This image is way off, yet it links to facebook with all the colors correct and it is correct in the blog upload library. All other versions I’ve brought into the library are similarly off when selected for display. For one, the sun should be glowing crimson; and everything else you can guess is way off from there. Second- blurry / vaseline smeared. Hardly worth putting it up.
On a late afternoon bluebird house expedition (house is just left of center) this storm brewed up over the mountains and shot out a large arm reaching over the ranch to blot out the sun. Rain misted the air under the vast arm turning the sky beneath it a brilliant gold, while a premature twilight of the cloud’s shadow swept the landscape. The breeze fell away and the stillness was broken by the booming of thunder resonating from beyond the horizon.
It was a landscape that challenged me to paint the mood of it, and after spinning in pre-art miasma for a few weeks I finally toughened up and got to painting. The painting is in acrylic and 12″x48″, a new format for my work as my new camera has a panoramic feature. This brings a whole new challenge, as the light changes dramatically across the expanse.
After nearly a year of hanging on the wall, problem areas and fixes amassed and I set up the easel and went back into it. Now the yellow wall on the L recedes from the central bridge, the central form of the tree is warmed a bit tying it to the sandstone as it had drifted too far into the realm of the sky, and subtle tweaks to how the stone forms meet the edge of the picture plane at the top of the composition to project the mass out and overhead. Also, I wanted to reshoot it with my new/used camera: a Sony NEX-7. My old first digital camera (2007) was killed by the airlines on the flight to KS for Xmas, and Wichita has a great used camera store= Santa-self says: Merry Xmas art nerd, now you can take great pictures of your mediocre little hobby.
I reworked all of my oil paintings in the Proscenium Series (see sidebar for original Proscenium Series, new images are not uploaded yet) of landscapes, after looking into glazing technique online. I had never been quite happy with how they came out, and glazing was a method I had never used. In researching it online I also came across new clear acrylic media, (new to the market in the past few years), that can be mixed with acrylic colors to layer up glazes. After reworking the oil paintings and liking what occurred, I headed out to the art store for the new acrylic media. The problem with acrylics revolve around losing cohesion of the binder if mixed with too much water when trying to mix a thin glaze, and of course, that it dries extremely quickly. There were extenders on the market, that keep the paint wet longer, but thinning it out would still break the paint’s ability to cohere, flow, and hold pigment. Now there is an extender with acrylic media as well as an acrylic thinner for airbrush. When mixed together these two media replace the use of water and allow thin color glazing. It works quite a bit like oil glazing. I had hoped to be able to have a watercolor-like response, and I experimented above the cumulonimbus in the layered storm front- laying down the painting flat I brushed in areas of wet color and misted water over it with a spray bottle, then dabbing back in with a brush, and locked it in with a blow dryer. There is possibility there for further play.
I reworked all 4 of the Entropy Bale paintings (see sidebar Bale to see them prior to glazing), the Bandalier scene below, and have 3 more big works from the last few months to revisit.