Landscape Contrasts

Landscape may seem like an ” it is what it is” kind of subject, but in fact it can be remarkably expressive. The subject matter is part of this: What is the weather? How is the light? Is it stark or lush? And some, of course, is the interpretation of the artist: What do I choose as a focus? How large is the painting? What do I do with color or movement? The artist makes dozens of choices, and each one contributes to what the painting says.

Here is my last painting of 2020. The political situation was beyond awful; it was frightening. Thousands of people were dying of COVID-19 every day. Our lives were constricted and every action outside one’s home required strategizing about safety.

“The 2020 Landscape,” 8″ x 8″

For me, this image expresses this time well. it is small and the color is muted. There is a path, but it is unclear where it leads. It is desolate. We were desolate.

Here, in contrast, is a landscape I just finished (early 2021). We are far from OK politically, but at least we have a president who is interested in the welfare of the country. He has appointed capable people. His early actions have addressed the pandemic, climate change, and human rights. Vaccine distribution for COVID-19 has started. In my state, I will be eligible for the vaccine within a month. If vaccination is widespread enough, we will return to something approaching the before-pandemic days by this summer or fall.

“First Light,” 16″ x 20″

The light! This painting is much larger and does not feel so constrained. The dark clouds are prominent, but they are not the whole story. Light after darkness is perhaps the most joyous of light.

May your vaccination be soon. May your spirit find hope.

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