You can always tell when autumn is around the corner in Santa Fe. There is the smell of pinon smoke and green chilis roasting in the air, the mornings are crisp and cool and the aspens in the mountains turn bright yellow seemingly overnight. The name "Embudo", meaning "funnel" in Spanish, was given to the area by early Spanish settlers because the spot where the Rio Embudo flowed between two distinctive cone shaped hills reminded them of a funnel.
A mixed media piece using japanese sumi ink and watercolor on rough watercolor paper. 9 1/2" x 30" image size, unframed
The subjects I choose to paint tend to have an interesting massing, a layering of elements and a quality of light and shadow. As I travel, should I come across a striking scene I may simply take a picture for future reference, draw a quick sketch or paint on site.
Open skies, storms coming in, sweeping vistas, mountains and grasslands all call for broad strokes and bold light and shadows. I strive for an economy of color and execution that can bring a landscape to life. If I can capture the shadows, forms, space at a given moment with the flow of line and color, then I can start to feel that I have succeeded. Working in such a quick, expressive manner can be like playing a jazz riff, improvising with the moment. I start with the basic composition, placing elements as needed, some planning on where I want light and shadow. Then I throw away the sketch, the photograph, look away from the reality and let the paint, the brush and the water flow.