Tuesday, May 19, 2015

NEW HAMPSHIRE SCENES: Landscapes--More than the land?

Landscapes--More than the land?

Three Bears   Pastel    9 x 12
Dictionary definitions suggest a landscape is "a picture representing a section of natural, inland scenery, as in prairie, woodland, mountains,"  or "an expanse of natural scenery seen by the eye in one view."  Technical, yes, but accurate?

As an artist, hiker and out-of-doors type person, "landscapes" have been my obvious subject matter, but art is mostly a solo endeavor providing lots of thinking time, and so, time to question that dictionary definition.
Should landscapes only be of sweeping vistas?
Should landscapes include animals? 
Should landscapes include figures? 
What about buildings? 
What of the up-close aspects of those vistas…the plants, rocks and animals? 

I've included four recent paintings in this posting, which probably don't meet the dictionary definition of landscape, but I have my reasons for considering them part of the landscape genre. 

 "Three Bears" was an actual scene, but not a plein air painting. Driving down Ossipee Lake Road, I saw three dark forms in the middle of the road. Suspecting, I stopped at a distance to get my camera ready and approached slowly. Mama and two cubs left the road into the woods, before I got too close, but I looked into the woods and shot a photo that showed one cub peaking around the trunk of a tree he had climbed, and two indecipherable dark forms a bit back in the woods. 

Three on Crawford Path ridge trail is certainly a vista, but does include figures. Crawford Path actually goes from Highland Center to Mount Washington. This particular ridge section  is a wonderful hike that goes between Mt. Monroe and Mt Pierce, two of the 48 4K mountains in the Presidential Range. In fact, the three figures are my son and two of my grandchildren. We were on a family trip hiking between Lake of the Clouds and Mitzaph Springs, two huts in the AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club) huts system. In the distance is the Franconian Ridge, yet another great ridge to hike. (Go to my website for other ridge paintings.) To me, the figures are crucial to the painting because they emphasize the immensity and expanse of the scene. 
Being there in person is, quite literally, breath taking. 

Three on Crawford Path ridge trail  Pastel  5 X 14

Dad and Daughter On The Trail.  Pastel   9X12

 Dad and Daughter On the Trail  has two figures, and it is not a vista…

This is a woodland scene, based on a photo taken on the lower woodland section of the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail.

The actual figures are my son-in-law and my granddaughter. Again, I think they are crucial to the scene because they emphasize the immensity of the trees. Birch rarely grow this tall or this thick on people's lawns, the natural growth is dense, lush and haphazard, but, quite negotiable for a youngster (she was six)  
with a little help from Dad. 

My purpose is to remind myself (as I paint) and other hikers who view the paintings what they have seen or could see, and to let non-hikers see the beauty and wonder of what they too could see and experience with a little effort.  And, starting children early is to everyone's benefit.

Be sure to check my website for more "Scenes from New Hampshire." You can contact me through my website with questions relating to my blog, hiking the Whites, my paintings.