Getting Inspired

The Laurel River (near Hot Springs, NC)

The Laurel River (near Hot Springs, NC)

Breathing in the Beauty

I mentioned in my last entry that as an artist, one of the best ways to get ideas for a landscape oil painting is to explore the various trails through the woods and mountains of western North Carolina. Last weekend, my wife Joy and I did just such exploring along a beautiful trail alongside a rock-strewn river near Hot Springs, NC. So I scurried out onto the rocks and took several photos. So what to do next? 

Some time in the next several days, I'll choose the best photo I took and sketch out a landscape composition onto my canvas. Next, I'll build up the composition with texture (usually I use modeling compound the Gesso) so that the composition is actually raised off the canvas -- built up and dimensional. After the texture is applied (the trees, mountains, river -- whatever I am depicting) I will cover all the texture with aluminum leaf and then (finally), the painting is ready for actual paint! Many thin layers of oil paint are applied and then I finish the piece with either several coats of UV resistant resin or a satin varnish. 

The result is an oil painting that is back-lit (using reflected light from the aluminum). This creates depth and intense color. This is what makes wall art a real statement piece (no matter the size).

This is the fun of creating a genre -- of contemporary art itself: doing something new and cutting edge, experimenting and playing (and making mistakes).

That's the fun of being an artist. 

"Oh could the muse on this auspicious day
Begin a song of more majestic sound,
Or touch the lyre on some sublimer key,
Meet entertainment for the noble mind.
"How shall the muse from this poetic bow'r
So long remov'd, and from this happy hill,
Where ev'ry grace and ev'ry virtue dwells,
And where the springs of knowledge and of thought
In riv'lets clear and gushing streams flow down
Attempt a strain? How sing in rapture high
Or touch in vari'd melody the lyre
The lyre so long neglected and each strain
Unmeditated, and long since forgot?
But yet constrain'd on this occasion sweet
To this fam'd hall and this assembly fair
With comely presence honouring the day,
She fain would pay a tributary strain.
"A purer strain though not of equal praise
To that which Fingal heard when Ossian sung
With voice high rais'd in Selma hall of shells;
Or that which Pindar on th' Elean plain,
Sang with immortal skill and voice divine,
When native Thebes and ev'ry Grecian state
Pour'd forth her sons in rapid chariot race,
To shun the goal and reach the glorious palm.
"He sang the pride of some ambitious chief,
For olive crowns and wreaths of glory won;
I sing the rise of that all glorious light,
Whose sacred dawn the aged fathers saw
By faith's clear eye, through many a cloud obscure
And heavy mist between: they saw it beam
From Judah's royal tribe, they saw it shine
O'er Judah's happy land, and bade the hills,
The rocky hills and barren vallies smile,
The desert blossom and the wilds rejoice.
Hugh Henry Brackenridge