A documentary on the progress of a layer of clay descending a dune
Oil on maple, 24 x 18 inches
For more than a decade, we have been watching a layer of clay slowly descending a slope of the Empire Bluff. Usually, the ‘necklace’ stands out as a vegetation-free band. But on a winter day, it was nicely accentuated by snow.
I have given up walking around this aspect of the bluff out of concern that there suddenly could be a slide of clay. Two decades ago, the north-western most tip of the dunes at Glenhaven caved in after I walked there with my dog. Since then, I have grown to respect the forces of nature here.
I just visited the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, where I saw, among other things, a couple of Rothko paintings and a Barnett Newman. Maybe that’s why this installment of the continuing Yellowstone day is more colorful than previous ones (see parts one and two).
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.
Natural black and white minimalism as well. To a certain extent, photographers choose (or are chosen by) their style when they choose their subject. Of course, the way of framing the subject plays an essential role. But in landscape photographs larger than minute details, it’s hard to find an uncluttered field of view. Winter simplifies.
Since I seem to have a natural inclination toward abstraction, you can well imagine I was delighted to find these snow forms in the wandering branches where the young Gallatin River is still figuring out where it belongs. I was also delighted to be on a pair of broad back country skis, a rental substitute for my 15-year old kit that had finally broken multiple places in every component, to the point it really was not usable even by an anti-gear guy like myself. The new skis allowed me to move easily along and among these streams, despite the deep, soft snow. I would gladly have spent all day there, had I been free.