Letting go of Realism

1. June Lake No.1

This past weekend I went in search of a natural swimming hole & came upon the Quemahoning reservoir. Such stunning landscape! After a deeply satisfying ( and chilly!) swim, I set out to paint in a new direction. I’ve heard variations on this suggestion from several sources. Basically:

“Let go of your dependence on ‘Realism.’”

These three 14” x 11” paintings were made in succession, holding the intention to remain loose and gestural, and put ‘getting it right’ out of my mind.

Clearly the first one (above) is a recognizable landscape. It’s painted with more panache than usual, but it’s still recognizable as a Patrise landscape.

2. June Lake No.2

Number 2 is obviously wilder, more impulsive and messy. (It’s badly in need of color adjustments!) But my grip on the ‘subject’ is loosening. I smeared, scratched and blobbed, chose unrealistic hues, and put a ‘wind & waves’ energy into the strokes.

3. June Lake No.3

By number 3 I’m starting to think more in color and light, loosely arranged in a landscapy pattern. It creates a fresh feeling, reminiscent of the wind toying with the lake surface.

I definitely had my ‘art dysmorphia’ with these. I thought the first was awful & painted over it. It did not improve it. The second I knew was a mess and didn’t like it at all. The last one I thought was weak & stupid.

A day later and I wonder what the heck I was thinking! They’re experimental and thus revealing , interesting, and promising. I’m fond of them all. And today a stranger who came upon me painting at the river offered to buy #3!


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