Sneak Peak #8 – this is my revised idea • March 5, 2016

Screen shot 2016-03-05 at 8.27.18 AM


Screen shot 2016-03-05 at 8.26.29 AM


Good Morning Everyone –


Why am I showing you a pictures of pine trees, clearly swiped from views found on Google Maps? I’ll tell you: in my latest Mt. Haynes view, I’m trying to picture not only the mountain but also some sense of what things were like before the BIG 1988 fire that burned a third of Yellowstone National Park. Imagine everything turned to cinders in a square of land more 35 miles long on each side! 


The Park is the healthiest it has been in living memory. Within the rhythm of a natural cycle, everything has a purpose, and in that ecosystem there are supposed to be huge fires that clear out the dense forests as they become diseased and start dying. And get this – the predominant tree is the Lodgepole Pine, whose seeds only germinate well after they’ve been scorched!


This is all cool stuff and I love feeling connected to it in my work, but with this ol’ mountain painting of mine, the challenge is to be honest. I’m not just portraying the view but also the vagueness of memory. The big trees don’t exist anymore. They have to be a little phantom-like, and those on the right are. On the left though, I’m thinking things should be more current.


I know, none of this may matter in the end. If my picture works, who will ever care what I was thinking or trying to achieve. But to progress and improve creatively, I must reach. That has to be directed by something, or how would I know where to stretch?


So, I need a tree – or maybe two – that are actually there now, in front of Mt. Haynes. I’m in my attic in New Jersey. It’s a bit of a problem. Yet but my brilliant sister solved it: go to Google Maps, find the road that passes by Mt. Haynes and zoom in, change it to the virtual view, and just start clicking down the road! Tree after tree passed by, and I found what I was looking for!


Okay, as a refresher, here’s my previous rough design for the foreground of this picture, in which I digitally stole, altered and dropped in trees from prints by a Japanese artist I admire (see my blog entry for Feb 20th – Sneak Peak #4). It was a shifty way to start with an effect I liked.


Mt Haynes 13 rough


And here is what my painting really looks like now, with my own version of the trees on the right:


MT HAYNES 3-1-16


And last of all is my new digital rough, with a kind of odd, impressionistic tree laid down over the gray area on the left. Believe it or not, I used one of the same trees I showed you at the beginning of this post, now so altered and distorted in Photoshop that the end result is pretty unintelligible. That said, there’s something about the feel of it that seems right.


Now  I must find my way or real. I’ll have to go more twiggy, and my textures will probably have to be a little more focused. I think. Time to find out.


I’m guessing my next update on this painting will be Tuesday-ish. It would be nice if it were sooner – and if I really book, it might be!


Mt Haynes new rough