I always enjoy the high mountains. Something about altitude just works for me. It might have something to do with having grown up in the Ecuadorian Andes, shuffling between towns at 7,000, 9,000 and 10,600 feet. Whatever the reason, I feel the mountains calling me all the time.
I’ve been fortunate to hang out with these huge peaks in several countries. Painting them brings me back. Here are three recent paintings of views I’ve enjoyed over the years, all done in soft pastels on Strathmore Artagain charcoal black paper.
Thanks to so many who helped us get here, my wife and I are back in the Pacific Northwest. We landed on Monday, and by Wednesday, we were out in the woods. It’s not hard to get to a forest around here. Many of the parks are so densely wooded you hardly know you’re near a town. Noble Park is new to us, so we have some nice exploring to do close to where we live. This scene was just a short walk from the parking lot via one of several trails.
I started the painting onsite. About 45 minutes into the session, it started to do that Oregon drizzle thing, so I quickly packed up the pastels and we headed back. (Only after I was mostly packed did I see the owl perched about 15 feet over my head, graciously refraining from anointing/bombing me down below!) A few hours later, I sat outside the place we’re staying and painted for another half hour…until it started raining for real. I finished painting in the dining room.
What a delight to be out in the cool woods once again! I love it.
If your art group would like a demo, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange it! Workshops are also available. Let me know!
Introducing a new workshop focusing on using light, shadow and atmosphere in pastels.
I’ve spent the last several decades exploring some of the most mysterious places on the planet. These experiences have influenced my painting techniques as I’ve worked to capture and communicate the emotional impact of moving through these amazing landscapes, watching the weather unfold, coming around the corner to a view that takes one’s breath away.
In this 3-day workshop, we’ll discuss how to approach a new painting, what gives us that emotional pull to put color on the surface, and how we can communicate that to the viewer.
I’ll demonstrate how I go about it, and we’ll practice different techniques that probe the magic inherent in the landscape. The process itself is a combination of mystery and discovery.
By the end of the workshop, you’ll have at least one completed painting, and the beginnings of more.
Email me at email@example.com to schedule this workshop for your group!
OPTIONS: This workshop can also be customized as a 1-day or 2-day event. Email me for details!
The “Help Mark Move the Studio” saleis currently in full swing, and continues until May 5th. I’m grateful to everyone who has contacted me and made a purchase! Wow! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m shipping more stuff out today!
What I realized, and finally articulated a few minutes ago, is that this experience has had an impact on me in more ways than one.
1) It’s helping defray the costs of moving, and it really does help us with the whole “food and shelter” thing!
2) It’s freeing up physical space that has been holding all this inventory.
3) It’s freeing up psychological space. I feel like I’m not just accumulating more of my own artwork, but that there is ROOM for more art, even in my psyche.
4) Knowing that someone resonates with my art is deeply satisfying, and having someone choose a painting or drawing creates a connection like no other.
These are irreplaceable experiences, and I’m grateful to be having them.
Where some songs come from, I don’t know. “Ordinary Afternoon” came to me from some unknown place when I was in my mid-twenties. It almost wrote itself. Back then, I had two cassette players and I did my best to sing the parts, bouncing tracks from one machine to the other. That low quality recording was all I had of it for years.
Fast forward to 2003. My wife had encouraged me to buy a 16-track digital recording station and I was finally able to do real multi-track recording. One week, while she was on a business trip, I spent several evenings laying down the guitar, the bass and each vocal.
I’m so focused when I do music; I don’t notice the passage of time. It was after midnight when I finally made the last tweaks to the levels and EQ and mixed it down. I remember listening to the final recording in full stereo on my headphones.
Somehow, after the last chord finished, I found myself in the darkened kitchen, headphones off, leaning on the counter with tears of gratitude streaming down my face. For the first time, the sounds of this song that had rung in my head over all these years were actually out there. I’d just heard them with my own ears.
Today, I decided to paint something reminiscent of the image that, for me, has accompanied this piece whenever I hear it. I hope you enjoy the music, the words, and the painting.