Light, Atmosphere and Depth

If there were no light, we would not see – ANYTHING. And we very much need the darkness in order to appreciate the light in all its various incarnations. I love the drama created by light in the natural and manmade world. Depending upon the time of day or night, in combination with the amount of moisture present in the air, we have, what I like to call the resultant atmosphere, or mood. Living at altitude in Taos, New Mexico, where the air is so dry and clear year-round I am presented with an unusual set of challenges in painting this dramatic landscape. Everything seems to be within touching distance of the viewer; even the mountains in the distance. My challenge is how do I create a painting where, upon a flat surface, depth perception is accurate in my rendering (the mountains in the distance appear to be in the distance) and I can then draw the viewer in, to hopefully experience their own joy and fascination?

Generally speaking, variations in light evoke my emotional response. For example, if the light and atmosphere are strong and clear, I feel a confident sense of drama; if it’s misty, then I’m perhaps more hesitant and tentative. And if darkness prevails, I am filled with a sense of mystery, comfort, possibility, reward and excitement. 

Rocks and Other Hard Places

Rocks are hard, inert, unchanging, right? Wrong; not to me, anyway. When I see rocks, I see potential. I also see what was, in addition to what could be. When I am struck by a rock formation, I think about planes and angles and edges and lines and most of all, the light that is reflected by and onto these shapes. To me, rocks represent an ultimate in abstract shapes. No two are the same, from pebbles to boulders; their shapes offer no symmetry to my eye. Their origins differ, just as their future is unknown. To me, however, rocks are soothing in their quasi permanence