Pastel 15h x 24w in. framed
This painting title "Edge Walker" came to me after the fact . . . with much consideration about time, place, the mood and one poem written 7 years ago. It is a corner of the estuary at Port Stanley, Lopez Island, where fresh waters meet tidal salt water, where a road winds, divides and also where there's a mysterious old white farm house that sits back catching the early afternoon sunlight in late autumn. It's a place where I have jogged, walked, driven my car and bicycled tens of thousands of times in the past 4 decades. I was out that day, simply looking for fall colors on Lopez Island, when I stopped in my tracks at how the low angled sunlight presented itself in layers across the whole scene, punctuated by rich russets and golds in grasses, bright greens, small amounts of detail in the distant house against the deep, cool greens of the background trees, and warm fall color in the trees. A landscape painter's dream!
Those are the physical aspects, but that day, I felt like I was seeing it for the first time. I had to completely distance myself from the familiar and take into consideration what was really pulling me into such a special place. To paraphrase Patti Sullivan, a noted and well published poet, who eulogized one of my plein air paintings at the San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival in 2013 . . . "that's what plein air painting gives you, the chance to be surprised" in her poem "Not Fade Away - Plein Air Poetry with the artist, Steven R Hill".
Patti was one of three poets who spent a whole day, observing and writing alongside 3 different artists, as we all painted outdoors and on-site. Somehow, she artfully wove Jack Kerouac and Buddy Holly into her beautifully written poem, as she demystified and gave a solid voice to the "plein air painting process".
I call it "Plein Air Poetry" and often borrow words from Patti's poem, when I try to describe this process - what goes through the eyes, brain (emotion), hands and onto the surface in pastel. For me, it's more of a metaphysical, and wonderfully mysterious connection to be made out there. To borrow another line from her closing in this poem " . . . it has got to be real and not fade away . . . "
Her book of poetry is available at:
Buy it and fall down the rabbit hole.
Giclee prints available at $200.