Friday, July 27, 2018


Mrs. Browns Welcoming Committee. Watercolor

      Greetings! My July posting is a two for one. First up, I have finally finished the painting that I was talking about last month. I'm not sure why it took me so long to finish this painting. I do know that the composition is one that I have attempted in the past and was never very satisfied. I started out feeling very good about this image, but now that it is done, like the others before it, I find that it is somewhat mediocre. I love step-by-step, photo progression stories, so I'll outline the story of this painting as we go!

The first wash. Doesn't look like much.

      If you know me, you know that I have spent some time in Scotland. One of the things I did while over there, was to visit the Orkney Islands. I love the Orkneys. They have a uniquely stark beauty about them. Anyway, the group I traveled with had rented a mini bus/van. When we arrived at our accommodations it was time to unload the van.   

2nd or 3rd wash. Color is introduced.

      We were staying in Stromness, and the roads in Stromness are extremely narrow. There wasn't really room to park the van and unload right in front of the building. To do so would require blocking the main road.

Later on I added stones to the wall.

      Now you have to understand, Stromness is more or less a fishing village on the side of a hill. There's even a spot where you can climb to the top of the hill and overlook the entire town. It's a lovely view, and it's nice to see the village stretch across your feet as you look down. In order to prevent a backup on the main thoroughfare, our little traveling party decided to park up on the hill, and make use of a path down to where we were staying.


      This idea meant that we had to take several trips up and down the path as we unloaded our van. It's been a while since I have been to Stromness, but a quick peek on Google maps revealed that this same path is still there. It has steps, is paved, and I imagine it gets quite a bit of use. 

Crows have been added.

      Anyway, as we first descended the hill, we noticed a naked tree in an enclosed courtyard. In the starkness of the Orkney islands there are very few trees due to the severe winds that blow in the winter. This was a large tree protected by the walls of the courtyard. I imagine it was not bloomed out, as it was still early spring when I visited. 

The image is complete

      It was however, covered in crows. There were crows everywhere! They were swooping, calling to one another, and giving us all the once over. I have never seen so many crows nesting in one spot in my entire life. One member of our party commented "Well, that's a rather ominous welcome." And it stands out very vividly in my mind. I have tried to capture that experience several times in the past and have been disappointed. This painting, while not perfect comes close.

      Part two of this post concerns a recent exhibition I saw. I recently saw the work of Evan Koch. He has a display of recent work at the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, LA.

Poster from the show.

      His show is titled "Laminae Verso." His paintings are full of vibrant color and energy. There is a lot to appreciate in his work, and he is a talented artist. However, I know at least two other artists working in a similar fashion, and I have seen work by others whom I don't know, that are also very much alike. 
     Art is not created in a vacuum, and artists very much feed of of each other. I think this is another example of that phenomena. This is not to say that I don't like the work, or that it shouldn't be created. But, when the same ideas are repeated again and again, it can be tiring. I often like to view the work of other artists as a source of inspiration, and I would recommend a viewing of this work, if you have time and are in the Lafayette area. But my work is not likely to follow this developing style. And that's okay too. There's room for everyone in the art world!