The Old View...
When I was young my family would head up to the Adirondack Mountains for a week or two on the lake. My dad would start preparing three days before, laying out his lists of things to pack; fishing pole, pie plate, pocket knife, etc.
We would head off first thing in the morning and he would drive, white knuckled, listening to 880AM for the traffic. Eventually we would cross the Tappan Zee Bridge and we would watch as he physically transformed, eased back into his seat and gripped the wheel lazily with one hand. He would put on this tape of folky americana music and that was it. He was on vacation, in the mountains and everything else was melted away.
The other thing he would do is remark at how large the Hudson River was as we crossed it. Hours later as we pulled off the NY Thruway into the back roads of the Adirondack Park, he would wake us up to show us once again the Hudson River. Except this time, as it ran through the town of Minerva, NY it was little more than a creek. I think I learned a great deal about looking from my dad. He was always pointing out these small moments and attaching great significance to it. What he called the "old view," (a scenic parking area off the highway) was more than a spot to stretch your legs, it was a moment to pause and take it in, to really take notice. I thought about this a lot while we headed upstate to the Openings Residency on Lake George. I even pointed out the size of the Hudson River to Julian, but he was way more interested in eating his Elmo crackers.
We went up to the residency mid week so I admittedly only had one and a half full days to work, but I think I got some good drawings finished in that time. More than the actual work created, it was a great experience just being in nature, and although I was working more or less en plein air, I was also trying to get a sense of the growth, color and organic structure of the landscape in a more abstract way. All of these aspects are becoming more and more a part of the paintings I am working on as I start to combine the real landscape and the abstract space I am creating.