Friday, October 1, 2010

My First Landscape

I suppose it's fitting after my post about heading more definitely toward abstract work that I should do my first standalone landscape in many, many years. I don't find anything odd about this.

I'm doing this painting because I was struck day after day by the beauty of Canaan Valley in West Virginia a few weeks ago. It's a high mountain valley and the habitat, as residents say, is more like Canada than West Virginia. Yes I know some might say, 'Umm. Canada's pretty big you know.' But I think you get the idea. Probably the most beautiful area we saw was the Freeland Rd. Tract of the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The rich yellows, orange, reds of the foliage complemented the deep green conifers, bluish mountains and rich blue sky, which was then reflected in the ponds. A closeup photo of some of the foliage looked like a Jackson Pollock painting but with Matisse's colors.

In the face of such beauty an artist can't but help want to portray it. I did one quick felt-tip pen drawing on site. I think I've already shown it here. But I also wanted to do something more developed. So this is my first landscape in I'm pretty sure at least 25 years. Certainly it's my only developed landscape in 25 years.

But this is just the first. In my mind the purpose of art is to express the artist's view of the world. He can be struck by the beauty of the world and want to portray is like a photograph. I don't say 'realistically' because it's too difficult to say just what that really is. The idea anyway is to portray what he sees. But what I saw was brilliant color. I wish this painting showed that but it doesn't.

So I'll probably do some more landscapes of this area. And I wouldn't be surprised if some of them become abstract, because that may just seem like the best way to express the whole experience of being there.


Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Love the texture - especially in the foreground.

Ken Januski said...

Thanks Pam. I think what I'm happiest with this is the sense of structure and space. And the texture is ok. Since the foreground takes up almost a third of the painting it was important to get it to seem to have some variety and texture and not look like just one big yellow/orange band.