Ghost Horse – Where the Red Line Came From

click on image to see detail

Walking up to the top of the hill in Calistoga, California, I sat down on a path in a stand of trees. It was quiet. I thought about being present while I sketched the space between the trees. I sketched the silence and breeze surrounding the space.

Back in the studio I translated into painting my interpretation of the space, the breeze,  around the trees. Then I needed to put the trees in. How did my body respond to those tall trees all around me? I know too much. I know how to paint a green forest. Instead of painting the same old thing, I wanted to grow. I wanted to take risks. After painting two abstract blue tree trunks, I added a red wood plank.  Leaving the painting, then coming  back later gave me some distance from the piece. Something was missing. It just wasn’t very interesting. The strong blue and red had taken over the marks of silence.

I looked out the open door next to my painting corner and a white horse walked by. That’s it! I grabbed a piece of charcoal and quickly added the horse to my painting. The horse was perfect in that space. The light application of the horse brought attention to the quiet breeze. The painting was now balanced. ‘Ghost Horse’ was finished.

This painting was to be the beginning of a series about animals. A year and a half later it ended up being the first in the Red Line Series.

Raoul Dufy and Me – Southern France

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Carla’s interpretation of view in Larmet, France

The camera’s interpretation of the scene

Megan’s interpretation of the scene

Upon entering a hotel room in Aix en Provence, many years ago, I noticed a familiar print by Dufy hanging on the wall next to the window. Accompanying the print was a note saying Raoul Dufy had painted the watercolor from this window. Yes, right there, I was looking out the window at the same scene painted in the 1920’s. Of course, I had to paint that scene. Now, my watercolor is framed and hanging in my daughter’s house. In August, I painted the another view in France, with her daughter. Here are three interpretations of the same view.

“I think a painter is happy because he is in harmony with nature as soon as he can express what he sees.” Vincent van Gogh

Painting a Horse and Riding it the Next Day – Megan and Carla’s Blog – France

 

20120816-163742.jpgToday me and G woke up and drove down the driveway until we got a beautiful landscape in front of us. Gammie talked to me about creating shapes and to look at the shapes the colors made. She told me to squint and I immediately realized what she meant. I could see the landscape in color! When we were drawing we drew the very basic different color shapes. Before we even started doing small detail it looked very similar to the scene in front of us! We used lots of different colors even though some appeared more frequently than others. In the end got down the landscape into a very colorful picturecid:83F4A84D-AF66-4505-A575-6b

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