Saturday, October 31, 2009

Among the Mountain Gods (30" X 40")

Among the Mountain Gods (30 X 40")

These are some of my last paintings of the summer, when I was still up in Keene Valley after the family had left. I worked from photos I had taken of Mari up on Pyramid Peak. Painting from my photos is so convenient and strong paintings usually result from the exercise, but there is definitely more vigor, integrity, risk, and reward in pushing paint plein-air. I do both.

Major influences on my vision and work

Robert Stark is a great American painter and a dear friend who has helped me open up my eyes, free up my technique, and generally be smarter in my approach. He is a fountain of great paintings and helpful tips. My grandmother, Noel Train, was a good painter who used to take me out to paint when I was a teenager. She collected really inspirational works by people who became my heroes, including Lundberg, Avery, Henri, Weston, and Marin.

I was extremely fortunate growing up to have a lot of really good oil paintings on the walls of our house and my grandmother's house. I am particularly grateful to have grown up around the works of the American modernist Harold Weston (of the Adirondacks) and the American impressionist August Lundberg (of Maryland). Other members of my family have been very good painters, too: uncle Brown Miller, aunt Lucinda Train Longstreth, and uncle Antonio Ciccone. My parents have each done some good paintings over the years, too. Mama assembled a fine collection of alligator-based portraits of figures from popular history. Papa produced lots of landscapes in oil under the guidance of St. Albans' Dean Stambaugh.

Masters whose approach I would like to better understand and incorporate into my own work are Cezanne, Courbet, Van Gogh, Bellows, Hartley, Burchfield, Dove, and Milton Avery.

I've been pleased to show alongside Bob Stark, Michael Gaudreau, Bill Evans, Vry Corscaden, and Stephanie Demanuelle at the Corscaden Barn in Keene Valley, NY. I want to send a shout-out to Bob and Michael for pushing me to get this blog going, and I want to send a special shout-out to Martha Corscaden for making the Barn such a vibrant place and for encouraging me to show there each year.