Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Shasta Mountain Lioness

Shasta Mountain Lioness
Part 1

This is part one of a three-part demonstration of a studio painting that is in progress. In the next week, look for parts two and three to see how this painting progresses. This is the first day of painting, and, as you can see, after just a few hours I have a clear vision of my inspiration captured on canvas. Later, I will complete this painting with details and lighting.

While exploring and painting the wild country in the American West, I have witnessed hundreds of compositions like the one I am painting. This weekend, on a steep and strenuous climb that I thought would take me up to the Eddys, the rock that I was standing on suddenly dropped away, and I realized I was on a ridge. As I looked around, I was inspired and had a vision for a painting of the matriarch of the forest, a mountain lioness, as she surveys her kingdom overlooking Mt Shasta, the jewel of her crown. Perhaps the simplest way to understand me is to recognize my intense attraction to the mountains and all the living things within them. In nature, I find endless ideas for paintings. I marvel at the way Mt Shasta can appear beautifully, then vanish, and reemerge as clouds and fog roll in and out over the mountain. I feel grateful to be able to witness sunsets and storms that are in themselves the work of a higher power. My most memorable impression of traveling through the Shasta wilderness is how vast it is, with distances that seem to go on forever. The enormous volcanic mountain does things in a big way.

In this blog, I have suggested that artists paint from life, capture what they see, and convey their unique experience of the world to the viewer by painting. However, artists and collectors who know my work know that I create my studio paintings in a very different way.

The sketches that I paint on location train my painting reflexes and are recorded in my memory, so that I can render them again in future paintings. I am able to combine personal observations with passionate memories to compose paintings in my studio. None of the elements for this painting comes from photos. In fact, I rarely travel with a camera. I cannot stress the importance of painting from memory. In this blog, I refer to painting on location as a way of learning to see what you are looking at. It is with our imagination that we excel in the art of painting. If you would like to practice painting from memory, after painting on location, paint your painting again completely from memory in your studio without your sketch or photos.

I hope that we can build a community of artists that can share information with each other.
If you know of any artists that might appreciate being included, let them know about this blog.

I hope to offer more painting tips as this conversation continues.

If you have questions that you would like me to answer, please don’t hesitate to email me anytime. I welcome your feedback. Stefan_Baumann@yahoo.com


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