Reaching for the Sky
29 x 12 Mixed Media on Canvas
Of the three paintings I was trying to finish before the art fair this weekend I managed to get one done. Everyone always asks if artists have a favorite painting. Maybe temporarily and because that painting represents a new pinnacle for us: a merging of techniques or emergence of a new command that seems to gel. But the answer is really that we have favorite subjects to paint. Or a subject we never quite feel we have translated to canvas so we keep attempting it like Monet and his waterlilies or Degas and his ballerinas.
Reaching for the Sky above is a redo of Dawn on Wallstreet/Bryce below. Both are from a photograph I took in 2004 while touring the Utah canyon lands with my sister. The earlier version is still in my collection because I kept it unconsciously. I displayed it at a minor show or two and then hung it on my wall. An old social network friend mentioned it recently as one of her all time favorites of mine.
Dawn on Wallstreet/Bryce 2005
19 x 7
Watercolor on paper
A lot has transpired artistically in five years. I have switched from traditional watercolors to liquid ones. I now paint on watercolor canvas or cradled board as opposed to paper. And I have gone from the rather daring proportions of Dawn to classic proportions of prepared canvas and back to different sizes when I started stretching my own canvas. The conditions were perfect for a redo of this subject. So when Sharon mentioned it as a favorite I dug through my old sketches and came up with the original and redrew it to the larger proportions so that I could repaint this favorite of mine in my new palette.
I am inclined to say, "You've come a long way, Baby." Dawn is a fairly adequate artistic rendering of a segment of the photograph. But Reaching is the light and the emotion I felt at the bottom of those walls of hoodoos looking up at this tree that reached the sky in spite of all the odds against it.