In the beginning of 2018, with a little bit more freedom, I began to explore more places to find nature. Some of the places I visited are the Cedar Ridge Preserve. I began to seek out any place I could find even a hint of nature and mapped out several wonderful hikes very close to Dallas. For more information on the Cedar Ridge Preserve.
February and March found the artist seeking colors and light and instead I began to discover patterns in nature. I aimed to isolate light and shape even when the light was flat.
Talking with the naturalists I learned about another favorite place of mine, the Parkhill Prairie in Blue Ridge, Texas. It is like going back to a place in history where the wind cries across the pristine planes. I watched hawks sore and songbirds in the native environment-it was a wonderful trip and a need grounding for me. It is a wonderful remnant of the backland prairie.
I finally got to the East Texas Alligator Farm and Park. It was an enjoyable visit and something I have been planning for many years on so many drives out East. I plan on finding those out of the way places and writing and photographing about them.
Birds are not only a passion of mine they represent nature and often are the most accessible species in the suburban backyard. I remember going to my grandmothers’ in Orange New Jersey-out of the a concrete landscape of the city there were birds, not many but enough to offer some nature amidst concrete.
Over the years of writing and painting, certain birds have become symbolic in my work. The two most prominent are blackbirds and owls but recently the swallow has sparked my interest.
There is a song by Sparklehorse called the pain birds and on the album Good Morning Spider is a swallow. The first in the series is actually called the painbirds and it was during a time of great upheaval in my life.
The painting sat on the wall unfinished for more than a year, just the bridge and the water. I knew it was going to be swallows but I just couldn’t decide how and where the birds would appear. Next came the purple passion vine, a very religiously significant plant that I collect, all of these elements finally gelled and the Painbirds was born.
The second in the series came about with a lot less symbolism. I focused more on the relationship of two birds on a wire and the landscape that expanded behind them. Again, it sat unfinished for a long time as the image came together.
The problem is that the initial idea is filled with excitement and direction but after some time the overall details fade. This is why I can’t paint when I feel like painting, it seems you either see the details and textures and the way they need to be rendered or you don’t.
Birds on a Wire was the second in the series and it was just as large as the first one. Notice the change in colors, the richness and warmth replaces the cools and somewhat melancholy of the pain birds, it was a bit more comfortable time in my life and I believe I was much happier. The sunset does have a bit of symbolism of change and the possibilities of tomorrow and becoming comfortable with things ending.
The last in the series is the Celebration. I watched as the recent drought ended and Lake Ray Hubbard was full again, the swallows swarmed the bridge as if they were celebrating the end of the drought. It is the smallest painting of the three with the most birds.
It also marks a time where I am getting back to water at its simplest aspect. I wanted to get back to the way I used to paint water. I have recently departed from the clarity and depth and explored bright colors and reflections. I am going back to the basics and why I started painting water in the first place.
I have several paintings in the works, one is of grackles, another of egrets, I am getting back to studying nature with more depth and understanding. I am also working on some abstract images that are a bit less about nature and more about the human condition.
Stay tuned and please let me know which of the series you prefer and why.
It’s almost like a stain-glassed window as the light filters through spring leaves. I have been watching this for many seasons and have had the idea on my easel for many years now.
I was interested in the richness of fading afternoon sun. I love the shadows of blues and greens reflecting a coolness in the midst of an ending day. This is the third in an upcoming series of paintings coming off the easel. Stay tuned.
This painting was inspired by a ride in East Texas. I liked the grouping
of the drakes and the females looking on. It was a quick snapshot that turned into a long process of capturing a cool autumn day.
Since I started the painting, there have been many starts and stops. I have also had several times studying mallards at a local park to get the personality and eyes right on the males.
I aim to capture that relationship between characters in nature. When I go and study the ducks, they always know I’m there, they just keep their comfortable distance.
I was also aiming for the dark colors of autumn but the warmth of light on the reeds and the shiny green heads of the males. This is the first in the series, tomorrow I will have another I just finished: A hawk from a fence near Hagerman Wildlife Refuge.
To create when nothing inspires is where discipline comes in. You are forced to see beyond a gray winter day and seek light when there is none available and I believe that is the fuel that feeds creativity when the muse doesn’t show.
I have also been in a situation where the scenery was so breathtaking you couldn’t do it justice even if you tried. I was in Glacier National Park and between altitude sickness and a feeling of being overwhelmed, it was hard to shoot something that was truly remarkable.
There is a great space where you need to work a bit harder to see beyond what is obvious and yet the light is perfect, this is the sweet spot and what follows is a landscape where the creative thrives.
There are so many different feelings when you paint, sometimes it’s pushing paint around, sometimes it’s deliberate, even mechanical and sometimes it’s instinctual, tonight’s sitting was a little bit of all of them.
I started with an under painting and it was one of the more deliberate paintings I’ve started, unfortunately I didn’t have the full picture, just an idea of clouds moving forward over the viewers head. The actual image is from real life, I have photographs for reference but I’m not completely sure where the clouds end and what the landscape looks like.
I painted the background with perspective lines, every form, every color and every space will be designed with the idea of perspective and I want the viewer to feel overwhelmed by the clouds overhead.
As I tend to do, I switched gears after finishing a monochromatic under painting I turned to the painting of a scene from beneath Shark River Inlet in Belmar New Jersey. This painting was inspired thirty plus years ago and it still stood clear.
I painted with a clear feeling of purpose but as suddenly as it began it ends and I wasn’t sure if I was done with the painting or should start all over. The problem is the idea and image is strong but the recollection is so hard to bring back to mind. I will continue to study it until I know it’s either done or time to start over.
Another thing about painting, sometimes you feel like you’ve created your best work and sometimes the same painting looks like a mistake. I got back to the grackles above the city, an image that I started at the end of the last series, again I had that feeling of instinct kick in and for thirty minutes or so I painted like I figured out the problem.
None of the paintings are finished but I feel like I’m shaking off the stagnation and getting in the process. The most exciting thing about painting instinctual is that images appear that you didn’t necessarily know you were creating they just come out of the details you’ve worked in feverishly.
I’m excited about this series and feel it will be a huge step toward my future painting style and feel.
Last night I finally started painting again. The excitement and inspiration spilled over into the next day. It is a liberating feeling after being stifled for so long and suddenly it all makes sense.
I think the only negative is that suddenly there are more ideas, images and concepts than I can get done in the time available. This is when my lists get overwhelming.
I first started on the third in a series of swallow paintings. The work is smaller than the two previous but more detailed, with a larger population of swallows than the previous paintings.
The name of the work is the celebration, it is a scene from a local bridge in Rowlett after the spring rain. I saw a swarm of swallows that surrounded the bridge and flew under and around the structure. There was a feeling of excitement; nature in celebration, the drought was finally over.
The second painting I work on was a brand new painting called calvary The last time I went to church, I had an amazing image of calvary surrounded by stained glass. This is going to be one of my most colorful paintings and it is a bit of a departure from previous works.
I’m very excited about finally getting back to work and I can’t wait to see the new views as they become real.
How do you start blogging about art? How do you explain a process that you have been so involved with for so many years it feels like second nature. I would venture to guess that you would blog about the change from conventional art, painting and pastels to the
Creation of art through the computer and the marketing of art through the internet. I recently launched my website, www.artbygordon.com, something I had been talking about for many years and I was so happy to finally complete a task-I tend to procrastinate and I have so many different ideas for writing, poetry, art and photography, half the time I write them down and they never get completed. Starting to blog was something that has been on my list for a long time as well.
So the process starts with a website that is by all counts awkard-inconsistencies in fonts,
Lack of search engine keywords which is just as well for now as Iam trying to clean up the site and perfect the appearance before I start spreading the word. I have learned more in the last few days of working with the HTML code and editing the Meta tags and it seems every time I think I get the idea I learn something else. I don’t believe you spread theword or market artwork by just spreading it to friends, I believe it’s a start as word of mouth is important but how do you spread the site to people that want to buy art or even learn more about you as an artist. I have learned that launching the site is such a small step in marketing and the information I am picking up will be instrumental in how I market and show my artwork. Some ideas on the horizon are an interactive gallery, a poetry blog and a photography page and I know that when doing all of these processes I will learn more from the process itself.
I have been on a bit of a break from painting which I think makes it a good time to market what I have already created but more than selling art and marketing the art is learning about the process of marketing. I will venture more into the social media aspect and actually learn more about the people that would want to buy art. I will, in the near
Future, have an art show whether it be online or at a festival and I will blog and tweet and post with the idea of seeing where I get the most interest. I tought myself to paint and believe that is how I learn the best. Doing web marketing is just another growth process
And over the next few months I will describe the options I’ve learned about social media,
Google tools and the process of what I hope will eventually be effective self marketing of my painting, photography and writing. I am excited about the prospect and hope to gain followers with interest. I guess we’ll just have to see.
Artbygordon: Original oils on canvas, Original pastels on paper celebrating the beauty and mystery of nature. Water and night skies are my specialties.