June’s recent post about trying to gain a sense of personal expressiveness in one’s landscapes—which, on the face of it, are more about the place out there than the one in here—set off resonances. All the more so as I had just returned from a day in the mountains where I had gathered one of my more coherent set of photographs in a mode (style?) I feel I’ve been seeking for some time (all in one 10-minute stint, the only halt of the trip). And then her mentions of Wood and Hockney added to the echoing cacophony.
And now, at this point (day 30) in this particular residency in Beatty, Nevada, I am pondering a conundrum about my own landscape work. I haven’t quite enough distance to say for certain [pun recognized after it was made] but it seems to me that my interest in context and a sense of place interferes with my achieving a stylistic breakthrough, particularly with the set pieces that I love, like the mountains around Beatty.
As my colleague and friend David T would say: if he walked into a gallery with my landscape paintings, he wouldn’t think of them as being “by June Underwood,”just as “nice” (not a compliment) landscape paintings.
Pine Creek Gorge, photo from Wikipedia Commons, Commons licensing
I have been violating one of my basic principles. I have, gasp, been painting from photographs.
Pine Creek Gorge 2, 12 x 16″ Oil on board, 2008