Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Still Bucking It!

"Low water Morning"
oil painting - 6X12" - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view
 Still bucking this summer heat and drought...even in my work.  This painting was done as a study of the creek here in the valley below the studio.  I often use the term "study" and I often find it can confuse people.  "Studies" are a long held tradition or practice in art.  They are works which serve many purposes.  I use them as a spring board to another painting or work in a larger format...often giving the "study" time to gel in my mind - whether or not I really want to do a larger and more detailed piece or if its really something I'd like to leave "as is" for now.
This painting was inspired in part by the dry summer we are struggling through this year.  I suppose if I were to go to this same spot today, it'd be even lower!  I do like the gravel embankments as an element of this painting - as well as the drama of the early morning light and the longer shadows.  I'm not sure if I'd feel the same about it as the water levels drop even more...but maybe treating the composition and light differently would make an engaging image as well.

We've only had 2 tenths of an inch so far in July here...after less than an inch in June and with weeks of being in the high 90's - some in the low 100's, adding in some days of dehydrating winds, and things are getting nasty!  This isn't on a par of the droughts in other areas though...especially what Texas experienced last year.  Its just affecting more of the continent this year than has been seen in quite some time!

I'm grateful I'm not farming here this summer!  But if I were, the crop insurance would be the only blessing available!

Our native pasture is often my stronghold of inspiration...I'm sorry to say it is not the inspiration of past least not after about 3 weeks back.  The prairie will certainly get through the drought just fine, but the plants are now going dormant as they literally dry up before our eyes!  Another aspect of this is that we'll get little viable seed from the summer drought and heat.  The grasses and flowers are drying up as they go from the flowering stage to fruiting and maturation...many of the warm season grasses are simply losing flowers as they form...all drying up for the season.

Still bucking it here...waiting for some good showers to come our way!  Wishing you a drenching this summer if you need it!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Drawn to the Water

"July Morning, Waterman Creek"
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 

Gathering more material and first hand experiences is very important for any artist...particularly the "first hand experience" part! And lately I really seem drawn to "water"!  

It really doesn't matter what a person chooses to walk, wade, paint, photograph or even immerse themselves into; it is what it should be if it is emotionally or intrinsically satisfying or important to that person's life and/or work!  Don't you think?!!

The past 2-3 weeks have found me "in the drink" Waterman Creek here in the valley, to be more specific.  And loving it!  Why, with the rotten high temps and humidity again in the forecast, I can't think of a better place to be with leaky boots and my tripod and camera...and maybe paint brushes too.  In fact, I think the creek has got me for the easel and drawing board for a good part of my summer yet.

Drawn to water in more ways than one.

Stay cool and happy out there!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Cool Walk on a Hot Day

I'm always looking for excuses to get out into the landscape, but its more of a matter of necessity than simply for a break.  I have to refresh the "idea" pile!

I've told Georgie more than once that I have more ideas than I have time for, but a strange thing happens to many of these Ideas...they don't keep!  Its kind of like putting a perfectly fine loaf of bread in the fridge...only to let it sit way too long; weeks later its only good for raising penicillin!  The same thing (well, sort of) happens to all those great ideas too...they get lost in the "mold" of life!  Sometimes (rarely) the mold can be scrapped of and the idea is salvageable, but usually the idea is far from pleasing any longer and it is expelled into the abyss of the back of my mind somewhere.  

But last Saturday - the last day of June (MG what happens with this "time thing" any more!!?????), I got up before the sun and headed out to a private hillside prairie and after photographing some nice prairie forbs (flowers) I headed down to the creek below.  

This was Waterman Creek, the same little stream across the road from the favorite little prairie "creek" of the neighborhood.  The sky turned out to be too bland for landscape "photography" this mornning however, it was hazed over by smoke from the fires out west (Our prayers go out to everyone affected!).  But the creek was a good alternative..the landscape is "down" in among the banks and trees, leaving the sky as a more secondary element.  I still didn't see very good opportunities for a "photographic" landscape but have to admit I have more ideas for paintings and drawings now!  Have to do something with them though so they don't get all moldy somewhere sitting in the back of my mind before I can use them!

I like walking streams...usually a good deal of wading is in order though, but on a "close" humid summer morning, when the breeze is hard to find, a walk in the water cools the spirit as much as the feet.  Oh, I do wear my hip boots, but they both leak...I don't mind when its hot, kind of like a built in cooling system.  

I often plant my tripod in the stream bed and video tape the scenery...I love the birds singing nearby, along with the water; its incredibly pleasant...I feel my blood pressure ease and the troubles of the world fade away.  I thought I'd share just a few minutes of that with you through the video above.  It may help you see where my head is, and maybe understand how I approach my work.  If you subscribe to this blog via email, you can go directly to the video via the following link - 

Keep cool this summer and don't miss the music!