Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Virginia Vines

After a season of painting Maine landscape, I've returned to the studio to continue work that I began in April at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, an artists' residency in Amherst, Virginia. Living in a location with a long, sustained spring gave me time to explore a landscape infused with a yellow-green palette, and entwined with tangles of vines.

Studio view - VCCA

I worked outside searching for images that I could not find at home, and found roads and fields lined with wild grape, honeysuckle, and kudzu. I worked with charcoal on yupo and paper, water soluble graphite, and conte crayon taped to a long stick, experiencing different ways to mark the surface with the movement of this landscape.

Wild Grape, charcoal on yupo

Honeysuckle, charcoal on yupo

Honeysuckle, charcoal on yupo

Honeysuckle, charcoal on paper

Honeysuckle, charcoal on paper

Wild Grape Studies, Option 1 and 2, water soluble graphite

The drawings led to paintings which have continued this fall with larger canvases. 

Studio view, work in progress in April  - VCCA, oil, 40x30

While at the residency I had planned to work on drawings of aerial landscape from previously taken photographs. When I hung the drawings of both the vines and the highways on the wall, I discovered the connection between them, their tangled structures, invasive qualities, and chaotic layers. The unchecked growth of both the vines and urban spaces connected these landscapes in ways I had not appreciated before. Whereas my aerial landscape had previously concentrated on specific places like Newark Airport and Boston Harbor, the new aerial studies were more generalized, and focused on marks made on the land by human civilization; a kind of monumental drawing across the earth’s surface.

Invasive sketch, 10x20, charcoal, 2017

Suburban Continuum #3, charcoal, 30x22, 2017

Suburban Continuum, charcoal, 30x90, 2017

Suburban Studies, gouache on paper, 14x12, 2017

Invasive Forms, 30x44, charcoal, 2017

It is with great excitement that I continue this work in my Bangor studio as I develop new large scale drawings and paintings fueled by my April experience. 

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