Embracing the landscape: paint what moves you, and only what moves you

A Good Place to Graze, mixed media, pastel and digital printmaking, Karen Gillis Taylor

I have always like this pastel/digital mixed media print I made way back when I was first learning to combine the handmade with the digital arts. The expansive view, and golden lighting of our western landscape creates a sense of wonder in me. Now I am seeing new possibilities for this piece. I confess that I am returning to handmade. This one will be perfect for a new oil painting, since I’ve returned to oils recently.

One of my visitors at Open Studios Boulder when I first offered this print told me that it reminded her of a Marsden Hartley work. I was very flattered by her remark, as a lover of Southwest and American painters visiting New Mexico, many such as he, from decades ago.

Storm Clouds, Maine, Marsden Hartley, 1906-7

American artist John Marin was a heartfelt observer of the beautiful land painted. He said, “How to paint the landscape: First you make your bow to the landscape. Then you wait, and if the landscape bows to you, then, and only then, can you paint the landscape.”

Weehauken Sequence, John Marin, 10″ x 12.5″, oil, c.1916

Painters explore all kinds of subjects to paint. As art students, we were often assigned subjects to paint, and sometimes we didn’t like the teacher’s choice. We can always figure out a way to make it work, though, I’d say to the student in that situation. Be creative, always look for the idea, the spark that ignites your imagination. Go out into your world and see the possibilities, and then make it your own vision.


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3 Responses to “Embracing the landscape: paint what moves you, and only what moves you”

  1. sandy Says:

    I can relate to both of these, Karen. It is funny, on a day like the bottom shot, I yearn for the warmth of your southwest scene.


  2. sandy Says:

    Correction– the second shot!


  3. karen Says:

    I hear you, Sandy. We are still hanging on to warm weather here, but there was snow in the mountains last weekend and things can change any time! Keep warm!


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