Sandhills Field Study – Centennial Valley,
8”x10”, oil on linen panel
“Sometimes a scene I paint outdoors sears into my memory and lives with me for a long while afterwards. My most vivid memory as artist in residence was the day I painted in the sandhills on the northeastern side of the Centennial Valley. I set up my pochade box in a gentle sandy swale dense with rabbitbrush in full bloom, which it does in September. When backlit by the sun, rabbitbrush blooms are spectacular puffs of yellow surrounded by a halo of bright light. The swale was blanketed in a golden glow set against a backdrop of a hazy orange afternoon sky and cobalt blue mountains to the south. Surrounding me, the air hummed with all the insects/pollinators feasting on the rabbitbrush - their last dependable meal before winter took hold. The field study I painted that day is a sketch, a rough impression of my experience. Imperfect as it is a daily source of inspiration for me – my muse, perhaps. The painting sits on a shelf in my studio where I see it every day. When I look at it, I am instantly transported back to that day which had an element of magic for me. I remember that my purpose as an artist is to strive to share with others my delight in nature and wilderness. I remember that understanding begins when I am quietly immersed in and observant of a place. My residency at Taft Nicholson Center for Environmental Humanities influences my work every day, and for that I am grateful."
A haiku to commemorate that day….
Backlit puffs shimmer dazzling light
Last feast of summer