The Force of Landscape Painting

What we call “life force” is a force, and as a painter, I want to represent that strength in my landscapes by a charged, energetic line. After all, what distinguishes life from death but movement and the possibility of movement? When a tree grows it shoots upward; when a flower blooms, it unfolds. Rather than suggest that a landscape, and by extension, nature, is fixed or static, I want my work to convey the sense of dynamic possibility that is at the heart of life. If I’m painting a tree, I get a feeling of how life processes are moving and the feeling will get into my hand and my hand will move rapidly, imitating the lines and movement of the bark and of the fluids inside the stalk of the tree.

Dragonfly (watercolor, 25 x 40)

Early in my career I realized that I never wanted to paint every piece of bark or every leaf. The process of being exact would drive me crazy and the work would end up being an illustration. I wanted, instead, to emphasize the principles of life and movement—force and energy, vectors and forms, rather than details. By keeping my shapes dynamic and my lines interlaced, I give visual expression to the fact that all nature and all natural forces are interdependent and connected.

Les Baux (watercolor, 40 x 60)

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