My wife and I have just come home to snow and cold and this what greeted us in Dawson City, Yukon - too much snow and cold temperatures. We arrived home in the late afternoon and I had to shovel my way to my front door, so we could get into the house. Not an easy job and it had me reflecting on our time on Argentina. The home I just finished building, the idle hours, enjoying the sun and everything else.
After a few years building it. I can now say our home in Argentina is complete. This picture has me putting some finishing touches on it. But for the most part life in the sun didn't have me focusing on lists of household chores and goals. I was able to enjoy my studio set up. It’s simple, but I’m a simple man and it suits me well. I can happily pass the days painting in a less figurative and more creative manner than I have in a while.
Inside my studio I have freedom to explore something else. It’s often more personal, as it comes directly from me, but it’s not that different a process from when I’m painting en plein air. I never know what’s going to happen either way. Outside something will catch my eye and that’s it. Inside, it’s the same organic process, maybe the best way to put it is, that my eye is turned inwards instead. To me both studio and plein air paintings are like a muscle. It needs to be flexed or it will weaken.
Sometimes I try to paint outside in our Argentine neighbourhood but I haven’t found that "just right light" with the same pull as fall time in the Yukon. Generally, the light is too bright. There are small pockets of day where this isn’t the case, but after setting up they are often too fleeting to start painting. We don’t need to go into the patience needed to wait for those small windows. Simply put, I don’t have it.
In a stark contrast from our sleepy coastal town with too much light were the Iguazú Falls on the border of Argentina and Brazil. It probably doesn’t need to be said, it was spectacular, but from a painter's perspective I was unprepared by the depth and variety of the jungle greens.
It was like nothing else. There were unruly and exotic plants climbing everything, threatening to reclaim all traces of civilization. There were unbelievably large leafed vines on equally unbelievable fine stems reaching high for the dappled light of the under canopy. There were greens I’ve never seen in nature before. It was lush and vibrant and so alive.
I was foolish, and didn’t bring my paints, but I did not expect to be energized like I was. I try to keep my palette classic, but this experience has added new colours to my palette, I don’t know what this means for my work moving forward. I do know I am far from done with the jungle, and I do know I’ll be back armed with my paints. So I suppose we’ll find out together.
Restez à l'écoute!