Landscape cont... Bulldogs Beach

Something interesting happened in the studio today... I achieved a goal.. well, maybe not that lofty, but I did end up with a painting that pleased me. One thing you learn if you paint long enough... thinking can screw a lot of things up. So I've been thinking :) about landscape and what that means or doesn't mean to me. The fact is, anyone can paint a landscape, copy what they see in nature. For me that does not bring happiness, to me less is always more, reducing things to their essence. One could argue that such reductions are lazy or minimalist wack a doo doo.... and then I think about the other end of the argument. Maybe what we see as painters isn't all that important, or important to replicate on canvas. I see a tree I paint a tree..... Maybe the important thing to ask is what do I feel. How do I feel. Not about the tree or painting a tree, but how does a tree make me feel. Can I paint that feeling. Is it important to paint the feeling or just follow the crowd and paint a damn tree, so that people will look at it and say well,... yes that is a tree...

Today I followed my own advice and just went with the feeling of what I was doing. I let all of the mental chatter come and go, like a Zen session, but with paint and an end game. I had been thinking about my dad, mainly because I had a dream about him this past week and he was still on my mind. When he was alive he would hop in the old 34 and head out to his favorite fishing hole; a secluded quarry lake a few miles from the house. It was his Zen, his place to be alone. As I worked on my painting, I could feel it all coming together. I wasn't trying to force it to be something that others would like, or to follow a structure or training or anything related to the text book definition of what art should be. I was allowing it to be something that I would love because I loved the feeling, I loved the memory, I loved my dad. When I finished the painting I started to cry. I sat there looking at it for the longest time and I thought, it might not make sense to anyone else, but I don't care. It's not my job to make it make sense. So, yes in a way it was like achieving a goal, a goal to follow my heart. How often do any of us ever really do that...

Bulldog's Beach: 30x30 acrylic on canvas

Note: My fathers nickname was Bulldog. He had a pet bulldog as a young boy, and somehow got tagged with the name.