Thursday, January 31, 2008

1. Light in Stockton

I started this painting with the intention of breaking two conventions that I've pretty much stuck to as a painter. The first- I find that most of my paintings can be too tight, and I wanted to try loosening up. The second convention is that I don't paint landscapes. I decided to try this one after being inspired by a painting I saw at a gallery called No.108 Front Street of HuangJiaoPing by Li Qiang. It has a beautiful sense of light, and although largely abstracted still creates a great sense of space.

The goal then, for this painting: Loose landscape with a sense of space and light.

The light reminded me of a photo I'd taken of Stockton, New Jersey from across the shore of the Delaware river in New Hope, Pennsylvania (not to far from where Washington crossed, as a matter of fact). I used that as a base for the painting, but in an effort to work 'looser', I abandoned the photo pretty quickly (the original is here).

The biggest change from the photograph came when I decided that the main street of Stockton needed a glowing ball of light in the center of it. To me, the painting all of a sudden became about some mysterious event in the dark of night. Later, a little happy accident gave me the idea to put a shadowy figure - almost unnoticeable under the big tree on the left side of the painting. So now there's a story. I don't what the story is, but it's there.

I quite like the result. Its nothing like the painting - or the photograph that inspired it.  

Here is a detail of the painting: