"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Summer Shadows on the Great Plains

"Cloud Shadows on the Great Plains," 14 x 20, 300 lb d'Arches cold press paper
When you live on the Great Plains in the summer, the heat and humidity build clouds of all shapes and sizes.
When you can see a long way out there, across the rolling rural landscapes, the clouds  ever-changing shadows dance across the fields and hills in a windy, moving symphony of shapes and color.
Today's watercolor, the largest I've painted in a long while, is a larger version inspired by by the previous one, "Room to Breathe." That became sort of a "study" or warm-up by the intimidation I feel when working on large paintings.
Given the pandemic and the racial crisis we're trying to survive, 
I  thought of  T.S. Eliot's lines from "The Wasteland" that capture some of the truth we're living in now. 

            “Between the idea
        And the reality
        Between the motion
        And the act
        Falls the Shadow”

It's interesting to me how often I think of poetry and literature when I'm painting, and our national mood seems to be a metaphoric wasteland. 
To offset that, I wanted to try to capture the peace, beauty and vastness of the Great Plains. To me they're also a metaphor for our freedoms and future. I hope this painting approaches it. Can't wait to get it framed.
The colors on this photo are not exact, because it's taken outside and reflects some of the blue of the sky, but it's close. My signature is under the big fence post, which the camera lost the detail on.

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