Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why Paint Landscapes, why paint in Plein air

Why do you paint so many landscapes as opposed to cityscapes or portraits? Painting landscapes has to do with comfort and reverence. I feel comfortable in nature, as if I belong. I can sit or lie down and just be still. I can breathe and take it all in with feelings of gratitude, or I can poke around, explore and learn without feeling nosy. I always feel like a slightly unwelcome guest in the city, where a sigh of relief is maybe muttered by the collective whole each time I leave. Over the last few years, my appreciation for landscape painting has increased exponentially. It’s not just that I get paid to paint, but that I get rewarded to go out and seek and admire fantastically beautiful places. Many of us have watched the sun set. I, too, love to do that. But my work also grants me permission to sit and stare at trees, flowers, rocks, and water in all their forms and moods. With or without my easel and brushes, I watch as the light shifts, the winds blow, and the morning becomes day, and the day becomes night. When I do this in the city, I may well be considered a little crazy. I like people, I really do, and I’ve enjoyed painting portraits. But I feel that a good landscape is like a portrait which shows emotion and past experiences. I often have the feeling of looking at an old oak and feeling like I’m gazing upon a wizened old man-heavy from experience, shaped by personal strength and perseverance. A small sapling can have so much grace as it reaches and searches out the sun with the spirited energy of a young child. I love watching nature change throughout the days and seasons, whereas it often seems as though many of man’s creations vainly struggle to stay the same, as if trying to defy time. In contrast to human constructions, all of nature, even rocks, proudly displays the effects of time and weather, conveying a life lived and being lived in accordance with the natural order. When a landscape painting is going well, it is not so much about the end image for me; it is about being in the painting, being with the painting. I often get lost in my work, losing a sense of time and specific place. Landscape painting is like meditation. While painting nature, I sense calmness, a type of Zen, and the action becomes a prayer of gratitude. I can only hope that the people who see my work share in some of the feelings I get from painting them.
All the Best,
Michael Orwick
Orwick Arts LLC
http://michaelorwick.blogspot.com/ And if you're into social networking, I'd love for you to follow me on Twitter and friend me on Facebook.
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