Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Central Valley Barn"

6x6" oil on Gessobord

This barn was painted from a photograph taken on the road back from Yosemite. The bright orange roof really stood out against the deep blue sky. The Central Valley is full of inspiring scenes for landscape paintings, my kinda landscape paintings anyway. 

There's a rugged, rusted, barren type of beauty out there, with desolate little towns where you might stop for a cup of coffee and a slice of pie before heading over the mountains toward the Nevada desert. Why would you be heading to the Nevada desert? Hmm.... just lookin' for wide open space. Or maybe to go see the wild horses. 

Note: previous paragraph to be read with a gentle western drawl, in a voice not unlike Sam Elliott.

Big Messy Paintings

A friend and I went to the Oakland Museum this weekend to see the newly improved facility. I'd been there many years ago when I first started painting. I was excited about California Impressionism back then and I'd heard they had a large collection. It was a nice bit of luck to have Edgar Payne, E. Charlton Fortune and William Wendt paintings so close to home.

They've done a great job improving the place but there weren't as many paintings on display this time. They did however have a room dedicated to the Bay Area Figurative Movement. I was particularly impressed by the work of Richard Diebenkorn and Elmer Bischoff. Their paintings were large, messy and full of life. The paint was thick and chaotic, yet beautiful.

It occurred to me that I wouldn't have appreciated these paintings a few years ago. I may have seen them as rough, sloppy and amateur. I was more attracted to paintings of beautiful things, beautifully painted. I now see things differently. I connected with these paintings because they feel more honest in a way. Life is unpredictable, messy and chaotic at times, and yet there's beauty all around us. These are courageous and powerful paintings because they're not afraid to challenge us to find the beauty within the chaos.


Nancy Colella said...

I love how you broke this down into big shapes. And thanks for the reminder to look at Richard Diebenkorn work again! Such inspiration!

Michael Chamberlain said...

Thanks for the comment Nancy!

scott davidson said...

Nice way to decorate your walls. I have never done that. My effort to beautify the walls in my house was to order big-sized canvas prints from wahooart.com, from images of western art. I use the same angel motifs in all of the rooms painted by different painters, such as this one by very interesting English artist Stanley Spencer, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT7K6.