A Prairie Sunset
Shot gold, maroon and violet, dazzling silver, emerald, fawn,
The earth's whole amplitude and Nature's multiform power consign'd
for once to colors;
The light, the general air possess'd by them--colors till now unknown,
No limit, confine--not the Western sky alone--the high meridian--
North, South, all,
Pure luminous color fighting the silent shadows to the last.
While Walt Whitman writes so beautifully of the sunset on the prairie- capturing that magnificent performance of color and light - my method of working is to arrive at the prairie before dawn and wait for the sunrise. I combine watercolor, pastel and ink on paper in the effort to capture a combination of moments.
But my work from the landscape echoes John Dewey’s statement that, “Nature as it exists at any particular time is a challenge, rather than a completion; it provides possible starting points and opportunities rather than final ends.”
These works completed on site, form the inspiration for my larger oils created in the studio. And while the watercolors capture moments, the oils, rather than trying to reproduce the watercolors, become their own entity that combines memory with experience to create a unique sense of place.
In my work landscape is the catalyst that inspires an interaction on the canvas that is a mixture of the imagined and seen; it allows for multiple images to combine into an integrated whole. And in both the watercolors and oils, the interweaving of line, wash, and mark, act for me, as lines of music do in a symphony; they retain their own identity while contributing simultaneously towards something larger than themselves.