Well, here I am with a post from February, which cheekily ended way too soon!
For months I have been elatedly immersed in thoughts of copper and copper-related minerals and copper-related colors, ever since my residency in Alaska last August. One Alaskan sunset in particular was seared forever on my mind's eye and heart... the sky all tints and hues of orange, pink, red, and the glacial waters of Lake Clark looking like pale oxidized copper, and then the mountains, Copper Mountain, in particular (yes! That is its name!) was set on coppery fire by that sun. It was one of those holy moments; I felt lifted to a world of thrilling and pure beauty.
And then, everywhere I looked afterwards, I saw copper... in the salmon leaping from the water, in the colors of the native blue geranium leaves as they turned autumnal, in the bonfire flames, and on and on. My work started to be filled with burnt orange, cadmium oranges and reds, phthalo turquoise, cobalt green, teal, burnt sienna, ochre... the orange/blue- to- red/green world I saw when I thought of Alaska.
This is a bonfire built the night of that coppery sunset.The magnificent fire was a brilliant celebration of that place, that day, that glory. Here we see my orange/turquoise palette in an early manifestation.
Below are two of many, many studies I'm working through to try to figure out my own idiom for expressing what I saw and felt in the coppery Alaska. In addition to those zillion studies of all sizes and impulses, I have 12 paintings in progress, filling up my studio walls and floor. Who knows which of these will end up resolved? I don't mind, though. This is the slow way I work. I am an eternal pioneer in the studio, scrabbling for ways to get where i want to go.
Here is copper in the vegetal world, spangles of it appearing overnight on the leaves of wild native geranium:
Later, on my trip to Austria, I was thrilled to learn that the Natural History Museum in Vienna has a vast mineralogical collection. I headed straight for the specimens that were copper-related. Oh, those colors, my new colors! I stood my ground there on the cold tile floor, sketching carefully for hours, as rivers of school children flowed everywhere around me. This was the micro view of my copper world and with my love of geology, I reveled in it. Here are two spreads from my Vienna sketchbook:
Since my return, I've made several sketches, unrelated to my Alaska project, without realizing as I drew that I was still using my coppery palette!
A bystander at the Women's March in January asked me why I'd chosen the colors I used for my sketches. It was then that I realized what I'd done!
I want to finish at least SOME of the Copper Mountain series before I leave for Wales again in May. I'm slow, but I'm optimistic!