Saturday, September 3, 2011

Working the Summer Landscape

"Late Afternoon on Dog Creek"
photograph © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

The landscape is the staple of my winter work here at the studio, and the summer has not stood still while I spent the last several weeks putting the finishing touches on the "From the Tallgrass" exhibit - so I've been out hiking around the "neighborhood" trying to catch those last summer days before autumn throws too many hints around.
The past couple summers here have been a major bust with area streams...flooding creeks and rivers.  But after about a 23 month trend, we've gone through a decent dry spell and I've tried to revisit the creeks in the familiar haunts nearby.  Now, I'll admit I've been searching for ideas for future painting projects - not photographs...but things have not been going that way!
I've spoken of this quandary to a small degree in a recent issue of my studio newsletter...I like to gather information in the field for future artwork ideas.  I compile this information (files of photographs) for later reference material to work from - usually during the winter months when I'm in the studio almost all the time.
But I've been coming up with photographs I like as "photographs"!  Why bother redoing something that works as it "is"?  I don't like the idea of reworking something that already works!    The above image of Dog Creek, a few miles south of here, is a good example.  I found the late afternoon back-lit subject shouting for attention; the small creek quietly meandering in its narrow channel, catching the light in an almost elegant manner...the open shadows inviting the eye into the scene, embraced by the canopy of branches.  What a nice painting idea!
The quandary arises once I'm back at the studio "processing" image files from the day's explorations...dang it!  It works so well on its own, and I like it!  That's important too right?!  OK, another nice photograph of a small prairie stream may soon find its way to the studio's gallery wall.  The idea of a painting lost...well at least for now; no need to redo something that works quite nicely already...there'll be another painting down the road eventually!

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