It’s Plough Monday – back to work! • January 4, 2016

 

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Well, hello!

 

After an extended, lovely holiday break, the first day of my winter’s push is underway in my dusty old attic studio. It’s gonna take a few days to get really up to speed, but you can expect to see a lot in the coming months:

 

• New paintings of THE YELLOWSTONE AREA, both in and outside the park. I’m particularly fascinated by Earthquake Lake (see above and below).

 

• More NORWAY pictures.

 

• And of course, lots of CATS too! In fact, I’m flattening several dozen right now. I’ll begin scanning ’em by week’s end and then they’ll find their way here.

 

I plan to get a ton done before spring, and will be posting on this blog a lot. Keep checking in!

 

Your Buddy Bill

 

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About Earthquake Lake

 

Called Quake Lake by locals, it was formed the year I was born, when an earthquake KNOCKED AN ENTIRE MOUNTAIN DOWN IN SECONDS. The landslide was sudden and incomprehensible; the whole valley was filled and and the slide traveled halfway up the mountain on the other side. Some boulders were as big as houses. The Madison River was completely stopped. People were killed. Even today, 56 years later, the size of the the thing hardly fits in your brain when you see it.

 

A worse disaster was averted when the Army Corps of Engineers managed to frantically blast a canyon through the rubble to release the river again. Had it backed all the way upstream to Hebgen Reservoir and undercut the dam, the resulting collapse would have released a flood that would have terrified Noah.

 

Thankfully, that didn’t happen, but the landscape remains rough and jarringly scarred. It’s also HUGELY beguiling to a mark maker like me. That grit and texture, all of the weathered cliffs, boulders and drowned standing timber – it’s incredible scenery just made for me to make pictures of. 

 

In fact, I’ve already begun. In preparation for paintings soon to come, I’ve been messing with reference photos in Photoshop. Here are several versions of the same view, taken at the outlet of Quake Lake where the river enters the Army Corps’ canyon. For some reason, I’ve become entranced with GRAY and the possibilities of quiet, very involved, ghost like textures. It fits with the ever present eeriness of the place. I wonder how all of this will actually translate into ink?

 

Oh, and I left a trace of color in the first two, ’cause it makes me think about that a little. New notions are bubbling up. Inclinations may be shifting. This winter might get reeeeally interesting!

 

QUAKE LAKE 2Cblog

 

QUAKE LAKE 2Bblog

 

Here is the same scene with all color removed – it’s very dull looking. What’s odd is that doesn’t happen when I lean on grays in my actual paintings. I don’t understand how this all works.

 

QUAKE LAKE 2DBLOG

 

Last of all is a full-frame view of the untouched photo. Fooling around with it in Photoshop feels very like sketching to me; I’m building a mental catalog of pictorial and graphic launching points. Pretty intriguing!

 

4c QUAKE LAKE