Dark Hills Near Salinas
Both of these oil paintings date back many years. They also belong to the collectors of last post’s pieces, who let us house their paintings during the renovation of their home, and it has been a pleasure to have this opportunity to live once more with my older work.
Of the painting The Tattered Hill, I remember staring at the rents in a green spring slope and wanting to paint them, fascinated by the sense that the cloth of grass had been torn. The Dark Hills Near Salinas came from a couple of high-speed highway sketches. I take a small blank book when we are driving and will make a gesture drawing as fast as I can when I see something that moves me, then scribble in as many color notes as I have time for. I have also been known to use the back of an envelope, or in some cases the gas receipt! Later I will sketch those bones of the painting onto a canvas or gessoed board and use memory and my color notes to build the painting. I do very little layering or glazing.
There’s a freedom this kind of painting gives me, not so much detail that I am trapped into trying to copy reality, but a true sense of the authority and weight of the land in its shifting forms, and the motion of trees reaching, contending, racked between earth and sun.