Sunrise Over la Madelene
oil on panel 6" x 8"
"For me, the landscape does not exist in its own right,
since its appearance changes at any moment."
"I care nothing for the motif, only for what transpires between myself and the motif."
Well, there are few subjects that change as rapidly as a sunrise and trying to paint one is complete madness. The one factor that even begins to make it possible however, is that same rapid change going on in the sky and the land. The rapid change will not allow one to think at all, just react to the sky, mix color and slap it on - make decisions on the fly and remain open to movement and pattern.
Early Sunrise, la Madelene
oil on panel 8" x 6"
Both of these paintings were made on the same morning, within minutes of each other. This horizontal aligned work came first. That morning I had headed out for a walk from our inn at about 5:45, on the farm trail that ran toward some cherry orchards beyond. As I walked I was looking up and back and realized the cloud structure and the light in the dawn were rapidly coalescing into magic. I rushed back to get my painting kit and ran back to the same spot. Setting up quickly, I hurriedly squeezed out some paint and began at about 6:15 or so. With brush dropping abandon I furiously mixed and painted barely looking down at my dark palette - primarily focused on the sky. It was wondrous! As I put the last touches on this first one, the sky was morphing into a new glorious stage, so I dropped the first (face up) on the grass and grabbed a second panel. This time I painted the vertical one above, with the same kind of manic energy and absorbed-ness. The small size of the panels made it possible - I might have tested my luck with a third but I had only those two panels with me - and then the sunrise was finished.
Thinking of it all now, I know something more was afoot, something more than just small panels made these paintings and the experience of making them, happen. It was the opportunity to be in a place where only going out to make paintings mattered, nothing else to distract. It was a place so special and populated with like minded folks who were supportive and funny and good hearted - a particular painter who warmed up to sharing and talking about making painting in a self depreciating and dryly clever Brit accent I could not hear or understand; and even a little boy who climbed and jumped and ran about, exploring everything (and that's what art-making supposed to be isn't it) - these are all the things that led to a couple of little pieces of a morning's dawn come to be - and that was the magic and I was so glad to be there.