Saturday, August 31, 2013

Rich Ecology

Lichen and Leaves, watercolor & pastel on paper
I have already written about Sweet Spot Ecology. Today, as promised, I am going to write about Rich Ecology, something I have already touched upon in my profile: There are layers and layers of life, seen and unseen; known and unknown; and in a previous posting: The Efficient Complexity of Nature, 11-12-12. The rich and mysterious complexity of the Earth is captivating. Using a layered  approach to making art lends itself to rendering such a scene. I've been thinking about this rich ecology for a while. David Haskell's book, The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature, revels in this richness and has intensified my sense of all that exists around us. The image portrayed in the painting shown here is from Haskell's woods in Sewanee, Tennessee. As I am writing this, it is the last day for OF the EARTH at MS Rezny Studio/Gallery, where Lichen and Leaves is on view. (Come on down and see the show, you have an hour and a half!)

     Thus, I was keenly interested when my art librarian friend, Meg, lent me a book entitled: From Corot to Monet: The Ecology of Impressionism. My first action was to take in the paintings--they are splendid, of course. I even found a new favorite artist, Jean Charles Cazin. But I was a little curious about how ecology and impressionism go together. It turns out, that my concept of considering the whole of a scene, from the seen and unseen to the known and unknown goes back to impressionism. One of the ways in which impressionism was radically new was in the way that it includes all that is in a scene; the traditional, the modern, industrial and agrarian life, technology and well-established custom. Impressionism came into being as the Industrial Revolution was fundamentally changing life for the western world. Here, Thomas Moore's thoughts on ecology ring true as well. He points out that ecology is not simply about nature, but also about human activity such as the Industrial Revolution, and cultural influences. It is interesting to think about how all of this comes together in the world we live in. It is indeed a complex and sometimes maddeningly chaotic, yet still fearfully wonderful world!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

8-27-13 Weekly Watercolor

Sycamore along US 68
This tree is a favorite one that I look for every time I travel on US 68 from Lexington to Nicholas County. I take photos when I get the chance. They are expanding US 68 between Paris and Carlisle and the new lanes will be quite close to this magnificent tree. I hope the roots won't be bothered!
       I chose this scene to work on to practice a technique that I developed while working with participants in my Experimenting with Watercolor & Pastel class. You start with the lightest color (as always with watercolor) and after letting that dry to fill in the darker value background, but start with a lighter value and drop in the color.
      I love the way sycamore shine against a blue, or even gray sky!

8-20-13 Weekly Watercolor

Scene from the back window
As a discipline, I am aiming to make at least one watercolor a week. The reasons behind this goal are two-fold: 1) to make sure I make a painting a week and 2) to create work that go in the drawers at MS Rezny Studio/Gallery (where smaller work is stored.)
      I enjoy the contemplative mode of working with watercolor and the smaller scale, 7 x 5", will keep me from getting too fussy. There is a lot to be learned from quick work and constant work.
     This sketch was fun because I did it directly, while looking out the back window at our garden with bronze fennel, butterfly bush and a sand cherry tree.
      Please watch for upcoming Weekly Watercolors.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sweet Spot Ecology

Zacchaeus's Perch
acrylic on panel

      Several months ago, I was madly preparing for my exhibit OF the EARTH. I  had to write an artist's statement early so that it could be used in publicity blurbs. In that statement I wrote: "...there is a sweet intersection between nature and human influence that fuels my passion." The statement (which is included in my last post OF the EARTH, August 15, 2013) truly reflects my modus operandi as an artist.

      As August and the opening of the show approached, I was a little anxious about things. At night, I would select calming books to read. One that I reach for often over the years is Thomas Moore's, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life. A chapter caught my eye: Ecology's Home; where Moore says the following: "Enchantment arises on the threshold between human activity and Nature's presence." That struck me. Moore is describing the sweet intersection that feeds my art. He elaborates: "It is always a liminal phenomenon, a momentary relationship, made of the right arrangement of stars and planets and elaborated with art by human consciousness.  Enchantment is nature's song heard by a sensitive human ear, and it is the crafted work of human hands reflecting their admiration of nature's geometries." 

      Moore provides an etymological break down of ecology; eco meaning home, in the broadest sense; and logy denoting mystery and even the divine. Putting those together, he suggests that ecology is "an infinitely deep and mysterious notion of home." This is also a way that I would like to think about my artwork.

Coming up next: Rich Ecology

 "Ecology's Home"  Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1997) pp. 44, 45.



Wednesday, August 14, 2013


   My exhibit of landscape paintings, OF the EARTH is on display at MS Rezny Studio/Gallery during the month of August, 2013.  MS Rezny Studio/Gallery is located at 903 Manchester Street, Lexington, KY, in the Distillery District. Gallery hours are 11 am - 4 pm, Tuesday through Friday and noon to 3 pm on Saturday.  There is a mix of media represented in this exhibit: acrylic, watercolor and pastel, and (of course!) mixed media.  I will be in the gallery on Saturdays, come see me!

   To give you a taste of what my work is about, I will include my Artist's Statement here:

     Spending time outdoors is essential to who I am as an artist. In fact, it was necessary for me to take a walk so that I might gather some thoughts for this artist's statement.  While walking, I naturally observed that most of my images for painting are collected on such walks. (I passed several redbud trees with dark leaves of deep red and green. When I turned around for another look, the wind has exposed a delicious purple underside.) The Earth provides me with my artistic inspiration as well as serving as an antidote to some of our man-made problems.  Still, there is a sweet intersection between nature and human influence that fuels my passion.  This sweet spot can be found at my favorite places, such as: Blue Licks State Park, the Arboretum, the Henry Clay Estate and Lake Carnico.  I hope that these paintings allow for an interval of enjoyment for the beauty that surrounds us.

     Coming up next, I am going to talk about the sweet intersection between nature and human influence.