Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Growing Pains

  Its just natural that creativity and change go together. I'm sure there's something in science that demands it. For a few years now I've been changing slowly, partly from circumstances but mainly from whatever the dynamics of that creativity thing entails. Working plein air more is part of it, though that is actually a return to my "roots". The hard part is sorting out what to paint and why (though I'm not sure one needs to know why...just that you must). But maybe how is an issue too. 
 I'm convinced there's a a part of me that's too prose and not enough poetry. 
 Take these two images from last Saturday (an exceptional day weather-wise and a great time painting with fellow artists Carrol Michalek and Jessica Kirby - check them out at right). I like both images but that nagging feeling they could go farther too....
First the bridge into Farmington Iowa. I just went at it as is, with minor changes. The available shapes offer better opportunities, maybe?

 Next are the wetlands at Mt. Sterling Iowa. I took a few more liberties in hopes of getting the feel of the glaring light. 

Places like this don't offer too much object-wise so you have to be all about the light. I had a clue but maybe didn't follow it far enough?
I don't know. The only thing I'm sure of is that way down inside,  something rumbles and wants to be different. 
 Both could be done in other media...possibly that's an approach. More graphic? Juicer color? This artist thing doesn't get easier with time! Stay tuned in case I do studio versions.


  1. Wish I was there. Thanks for sharing your thought process. Posting the original scene and how you edited it, helps.

    1. Actually they're unchanged as of yet (oh I did soften the grasses behind the tree in the second picture). It's amazing how different the color is when shot inside and out.

  2. Your work and writing is nothing but inspiration for the rest of us John. Sharing the shot of the bridge and your work triggers (for me at least) how a scene that seems pretty mundane truly IS Beautiful. Maybe you're feeling restless because nature's colors are all muted at the moment. I know for me, I learn something new with every post you make. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  3. Great paintings. The light is spot on, so is the color. So are the drawing and editing. Is it the muted, almost drab color of the Iowa winter landscape that is causing those deep down rumbles? Perhaps a different palette would give you more creative satisfaction.

  4. Actually, I like the muted color. The thing I think that's wanting is a simpler, stronger set of shapes and less democratic detail - that is, near and far elements have too similar a level of resolution. The distance needs to be accomplished with just color and shape so the close and middle distance elements can APPEAR detailed but not have so many hard edges.