Saturday, April 23, 2011

What is Land Snorkeling - Clyde Aspevig

From “Land Snorkeling with Clyde Aspevig”, by Scott McMillion, Montana Quarterly, Fall 2009
Land snorkeling isn’t power walking, or even hiking. It isn’t about exercising your body. Rather, it’s a conscious method of exercising your curiosity. It’s not so much about finding answers as it is about finding questions.
Clyde Aspevig
"Winter Glow"Oil on Canvas
48 x 48 Inches 
© Clyde Aspevig
It’s a vital tool for Clyde Aspevig, one of America’s preeminent landscape painters. He’s been land snorkeling most of his life but only recently came up with a name for it.
Go outside. Walk Slowly. Pay attention. Listen. Smell the air. Taste it. Look at the soil and see how it responds to your step. Notice which grasses shine brightest in the morning dew. Compare birds, the differences in wing and shape and flight pattern. Maybe kick over a rock, see what’s under there.
Clyde Aspevig
"January Pearl"Oil on Canvas
20 x 24 Inches

© Clyde Aspevig
This is land snorkeling. Doing it could take you almost anywhere, even if you never leave your own neighborhood.
Think of it like snorkeling a reef. You drift over mysterious turf. You keep your head down, mostly. Everything is cool, so you look it all over, and you wonder. You come back smiling.

“The act of discovery is one of the most gratifying sensations,” he told me, standing on the bank of the Shields River, near his home in the shadow of the Crazy Mountains. 
Illustration ©
What is it? 
By Clyde Aspevig
Clyde Aspevig
"Flower Gardenen"
Oil on Canvas
24 x 12 Inches 
© Clyde Aspevig
Land snorkeling is taking the time to savor aspects of nature we ordinarily don’t see or pay attention to. Land snorkelers wander thru nature with no intention of hiking to a destination. One contemplates what we find in nature and explores every possible connection with all parts of our natural world. Each blade of grass, rock, or creature has some connection to us. We ask questions looking at nature and find out what that connection might be – we develop our cognitive and abstract muscles to solve the problem. We have fun doing it. It helps us to think. Our imagination and creativity is enhanced and richens our lives in a healthy and productive way. It’s free and it’s fun.
Land snorkeling is reestablishing the ancient connections to our landscape. We open up all of our senses to experience the hidden treasures of nature. We develop our intellect thru our senses. We sniff it, touch it, examine the texture, color, shape, etc. etc.
We look closely at things – like a feather found in the grass, a wing design, a rocks texture, and the pattern of a tree growing.

Carol and Clyde

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thinking about taking a painting workshop?

This is a repost of one of my student's blogs about my recent Cannon Beach painting workshop. Posted here with permission, thank you Rick Jasper.

Michael Orwick Teaches Oil Painting Workshop

The small coastal community of Cannon Beach, Oregon was the setting for an oil painting workshop instructed by Michael Orwick. Michael’s experience as a landscape painter, combined with his passion for painting, provided for a magical 3-day event.
The students were introduced to three distinct approaches to starting a new piece. Each one focused on developing a strong tonal quality, as well as a balanced composition.
Michael’s method of mixing colors from a limited palette, not only simplified the process, but also made it easy to create rich, dramatic and controlled colors.
By applying the solid practical principles laid out in class, each participant made great strides in artistic growth over the three day period.
Michael’s enthusiasm was contagious, and the atmosphere of encouragement made the class an added delight.
There was even an opportunity for some “plein air” practice. The bravest among the group set up their easels on the beach, and painted along side Michael, as they attempted to capture the sunset in real time.
During the afternoon session on Saturday, the owner of the Dragonfire Gallery talked to the students about art from the gallery’s perspective.
Later that evening, the gallery hosted a special reception for the group with appetizers and wine. This change of venue was a great chance to converse with fellow students on a more personal level. And with the framed paintings done by Michael and other artists hanging throughout the gallery, it was tempting to wonder if maybe one or two of those present might one day have their work hanging in galleries as well.
Sunday was the final day of the workshop. One by one, starting around mid-afternoon, students scrapped the colors from their palettes, said their goodbyes and departed. But no one left empty handed. Each took with them, a more complete understanding of the painting process, as well as a greater visual sensitivity. Students were now armed with a new arsenal of tools to take command of their work with.
I was lucky enough to take part in this workshop. Below are some paintings I did during our sessions. Even though they need some work, I consider each a success, because I learned valuable lessons while working on them, which I can apply to future projects.
Hopefully, with practice, I will progress and improve. I will most likely never see any of my works hanging in a gallery, but I can certainly develop new skills and mature as a painter.
Michael Orwick refers to his painting style as “inspired expressionism”.  By his color choices and purposeful use of light, Michael creates an atmosphere that takes the viewer on a journey to a place somewhere between the familiar and the entrancing. The onlooker is drawn into the painting and is invited to bring it to life by providing details of the story that are left unsaid by brushstrokes. This approach engages the viewer in a way seldom achieved.
If you would like to know more about Michael’s paintings or check out future workshops, visit his website at: or stop by the DragonFire Gallery in Cannon Beach.