Shaping Landscape

In her recent talk at SUNY New Paltz, J Morgan Puett recounted an early memory about making art. As a very young child, she would observe the landscape framed by her bedroom window, then run outside to make changes in the scene, which endearingly included spreading glue on leaves and sprinkling them with sparkles.  Then she would come back inside to judge the composition framed by the window. It’s interesting how that early impulse to arrange and frame still functions in her complex work.

It put me in mind of Frederick Church who had an entire lake dug on his property, Olana, to mirror the Hudson River so he could enjoy a more satisfying landscape composition.

One of my early art memories is watching the fields and stands of trees roll by outside the frame of the car window on family Sunday drives to the country.  I would puzzle about how I could paint the textures and patterns I saw. I still make  mental notes as references for painting.  I love to enter the imaginary landscapes that grow under my brush (or whatever tool I’m using), to feel how standing in that scene  would engage all my senses, how it would nourish me.

Here is a watercolor from a series of landscapes painted last summer as part of a search for a new painting medium to replace acrylics, (but that’s another story.)


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