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|My Blog, "Life Plein Air"
Variations on a Theme
May 3, 2014
I was speaking
to someone on a airplane last night about the visual arts and how they
relate to music. Here’s my analogy: In high school, I played jazz
trombone. Key to that genre is the ability to improvise. It’s a
beautiful thing to hear a musician create new music on the fly during an
improvisation. What may seem to be a beautiful, but haphazard, run of
notes is actually the result of playing within the composer’s written
sequence of cord progressions. The jazz musician creates in the moment,
but she does so based on what’s in front of her: sheet music (in a
sense). The same is very much true of those artists that create
variations based on a theme. The subject is the theme (sheet music) and
the art is the variation (improvisation).
For me, a recent theme has been Moss Beach, here in Northern California.
The series of paintings below shows how I’ve studied this area, and
created variations on this landscape. The first three paintings are
based on the same spot, but with different mediums–oil, watercolor–and
different perspectives. The last 4 are looking in a different direction,
but again, studies of the same view using different mediums and ideas.
From these studies, I’m learning to record and compare my feelings for
the spot so I can later determine what resonates and where to build
upon–as, for example, a larger studio work.
I hope you enjoy these improvisations of Moss Beach. More to come.
Moss Beach Cove, Oil on Linen, 9×12
Moss Beach Cove, Watercolor, 6×6″
Moss Beach Study, Watercolor, 9×12
Moss Beach Bluffs 1, Watercolor, 6×6
Moss Beach Study 2, Watercolor, 6×6
Moss Beach Bluffs 5, Watercolor, 4×6.5″
Moss Beach Bluffs #3, Oil on Linen, 12×9″