without acknowledging my father’s birthday. When I came across this pastoral landscape accented by light falling on a distant mountain, it struck me that it was the kind of scenery he would have loved to have painted. I can almost see him slathering color upon the mountains with his palette knife and scratching detail into the hay bales in the foreground with a stiff, tapered brush.
My father’s been gone for almost twenty years but the memories linger. He wasn’t the perfect father but I always knew that he loved me and he knew that I loved him. I’d give almost anything to share with him what my life’s like now.
Love is imperfect, but that’s as it should be. It lives in darkness and light—touching some for a day and others for a lifetime—a gift, not a right. If you love someone, tell them today, in case tomorrow never comes.
Many years ago while taking a drawing class I was forced to confront landscapes. While used to altering my camera settings to create the feel that I wanted for an image, having to do the same with pastels, while outside, seemed almost insurmountable. I began a search for artists whose work resonated with me and came across Wolf Kahn. His use of bold colors, often at odds with the subject matter, in addition to its often abstract nature, inspired me.
In the chaos of 2020 I missed that he had passed away in March at the age of ninety-two. I played with my photograph of trees, shot after a devastating wildfire swept through, to come up with this image that gave me the feel of Wolf Kahn.
In an interview he stated, “My choice of color is dictated by tact and decorum stretched by an unholy desire to be outrageous.”
Words as delicious as his work.
Happy New Year everyone! Let’s make it a good one!
I’m glad I have an extensive archive of photographs to revisit. I’m always able to find one that hits the mood for the day. A lone strip of land, isolated objects, and in the distance fog–the new normal.
The deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man towards the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure and, finally, for the supernatural… The brighter it becomes, the more it loses its sound, until it turns into silent stillness and becomes white.
I’m not the kind of girl that falls for pastel shades of barely there color. If I’m going to stray from my beloved monochromatic it’s going to be with an intensely bold yet limited color palette.
It’s important to know what you like and to seek it out. One of the best ways to find your voice as an artist is to build some galleries of your work; group them and see how they fit together. Sometimes images fit together for unexpected reasons and others stand alone lacking any common thread. Look for commonalities in focal lengths, color, composition, and theme. What other things can you see that work together as a group? This is an extremely insightful exercise that can tell you a lot about yourself and the direction that you’re going.
Years ago I came to the realization that I couldn’t spend my creative time in a studio setting so I took the technical skills that I’d learned while photographing my kiln formed glass and headed outdoors. I credit a wonderful painter/mentor with forcing me to confront the landscape. It forever changed my direction in photography. (Thank you, Nan!)
Re-visit familiar places, photograph them again, and listen quietly for the voice of the landscape.