Friday, April 9, 2010

Painting #21 - Stillness

oil on canvas
6 x 8 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky
For purchase information click here

This is a scene from Price Park off the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of our favorite locations for a leisurely walk with our dogs. The trail follows a creek for a ways, then meanders off through an open field before coming back along the creek again. Our springer loves splashing in the water. Our corgi, not so much.

Back in January I mentioned my reading list for the year that is in part connected to my interest in landscape imagery and my 100 painting project. These books include, The American Transcendentalists, Essential Writings by Buell, American Wilderness by Millhouse, and Nature and Culture by Novak (which I have not yet begun reading). I am still working through these books, since I read more than one book at a time, and in spurts, leaving space to take in what I have read. I have also added Goat Song by Kessler, which isn't so much about landscape, yet it is in the same sense that the writings of Annie Dillard and Thoreau are about the landscape, or rather our relationship with nature. So I thought it may be a good time to share some of the discoveries I have made so far in my studies of the American Transcendentalist movement and the Hudson River School Painters. As I progress in these readings, maybe I will be better able to work out just what it is about the landscape, and natural objects, that continues to captivate me, keeping me coming back in drawing and painting.

* It is a Transcendentalist claim that the human self is inherently divine.
* Hudson River painter Asher Durand defined the artist's mission as one to depict nature as it may have been at the time of Creation.
*The Transcendentalists' interest in nature created a greater interest in landscape painting in the public's view and landscape imagery moved from the idea that it was an inferior art to one of great popularity.
*The untamed American wilderness spoke to the ideal of landscape as an unspoiled paradise.
* In 1841, the invention of the tin paint tube allowed artists to paint in the field and Asher Durand's paintings were causing a stir as he was exhibiting studies done in the field as finished works that followed nature's arrangement as opposed to conventional modes of composition.

Wherever the notion of paradise exists, so does the idea that it was lost. Paradise is always in the past, an unachievable land, an unattainable state. It elicits nostalgia and longing and sometimes bitterness.

Maybe the Garden is within or exists in the holiness of daily labor, the body making food for itself, or maybe it surrounds us every second if only we open our eyes.

-Brad Kessler, Goat Song


nanke's stuff said...

I really like this - the little splash of red in the lower left is a nice touch. You do such a nice job with values in your paintings. This is just lovely. nancy

Ellen Read said...

Thought you might enjoy this quote as it relates to your study of nature and love of it..... I am really enjoying your drawings, Ann! Wish I had realized that you were such an artist when we were kids. I mostly remember your interest in literature and poetry. I feel I missed something!

The earth is our origin and destination.... The earth is not inside us; it is within: the clay from where the tree of the body grows.

When we emerge from our offices, rooms and houses, we enter our natural element. We are children of the earth: people to whom the outdoors is home....

There is something in our clay nature that needs to continually experience this outer case of the world. It helps us remember who we are and why we are here.

~John O'Donohue

Ellen said...

This is just beautiful Ann. Maybe my favorite of all that you have done. I love the "not green" greens you have used. I love it.

Alex said...

I love the different color scheme... a lot more wood and darkness compare to your usual green-blue, and red-yellow combination. I'd say this is a breath of fresh air, an earthy one too!

jeannette said...

Very peaceful!

Ralph said...

Makes me want to get out there and just experience the peace this painitng conveys.

AutumnLeaves said...

Thought provoking words this morning, Ann. (By the by, you have me thinking of using my maiden name with my last name now...I like the idea alot!) Anyway...I'm pondering on paradise...I think it is a state of mind really and can only be lost if we lose ourselves...If that makes sense. I see pieces of paradise every single day. I grew up with Springers; they are fabulous dogs, smart and full of personality, aren't they? The ones we had during my growing up years just all loved kids.

Oh! I love your impressionistic style with this gorgeous landscape! Beautiful!!

Jennifer Rose said...

this has a very dreamlike quality to it, very well done :)

curiouscrow said...

I like this - lovely painting.

Ramona Davidson said...

Wonderful art.Good name for the picture. Would love to just sit there and listen to the stream run.

raena said...

Your painting conveys the peacefulness of this spot! It's beautiful!

Anonymous said...

So calm and peaceful! I really like the contrast you bring in your paintings.

Ann said...

Thanks everyone!
And thank you Ellen Read for the thoughtful quote and Ellen for your comment about the "not green greens". I have been thinking about that a lot lately.

Krista Meister said...

Beautiful shady scene, Ann! Peaceful and tranquil.


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