Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What I'm Working On Now

Inside my studio yesterday, June 14th.

This is what's on the easel. It's almost finished. It's an autobiographical painting based on memories of trips to Colorado when I was much younger. It is a composite of several trips to a favorite place of mine, Engineer Pass between Lake City and Ouray in the San Juan mountains in the southwestern part of the state. This is not a topographically accurate picture. Among several other things, I moved Mt. Sneffels several miles north of where it actually is. This is not actually true to events either. We would never hike over so high a pass. We always drove a jeep.
I haven't settled on a title yet. I was originally going to name it "Engineer Pass," but it's not an accurate depiction of the pass which would irritate some people. I will probably call it "The Mountain Pass" or "In the Mountains." And there is that old standby "untitled."

A group of hikers that included my dad on the left.

Here is my late father, who loved Colorado and loved the Rocky Mountains. He spent the happiest years of his life there.

This blob of paint will eventually be the much younger me. I would never take a drawing board to Engineer Pass. At 12,800 feet, the wind would be too strong and the air would be too thin. I'd be too busy gasping for breath and chasing my paper and pencils as they blow all over the alpine tundra.

Here are the mountains. If we saw a storm like this approaching, we'd get out our cameras and take pictures; and then scramble to get down the pass as quickly as possible before being stranded in a blizzard or hail storm.

Balthus meets Albert Bierstadt in this picture, and the two artists get into a fight.

As you can tell, I took these pictures myself.


Leonard said...

Doug, This is a breathtaking commentary and it´s all yours on all touches me deeply that you´ve invited us along for your insiders view...many different gifts keep on giving.

Thank you,

IT said...

It's so beautiful.... you captured the light in the mountains perfectly!

JCF said...

*LOVE* it!

I always wonder (after spending time in a museum looking at the Bierstadts, etc): WHY is this style of landscape painting considered "of the past"? AS IF photography---or photorealism---could ever completely replace it???

FWIW: a year ago today, I was IN the Rocky Mountains (Wyoming), in my "camping move" from Michigan to California. Damn, this year has passed fast! [Except for, y'know, when it hasn't :-/]

Unknown said...

Oh, how lovely! I've never been to the Rockies and have always wanted to explore them. Seeing them from the air is NOT the same! :-)

Counterlight said...

I've loved Bierstadt's work since I was a boy. Sometimes it's a guilty pleasure, sometimes not. The first art show that made a real impression on me was a big show of Bierstadt's work at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth in 1972. I still have the exhibition catalog.

Counterlight said...

I finished the painting today, at least until I change my mind and go back into it. I'll take some pics tomorrow and put them up.

What makes me sad about this painting is that this is the picture my father always wanted from me, and now here it is 11 years after his death.

Kittredge Cherry said...


I believe that your father's soul is rejoicing now over this painting... and perhaps soaring over Engineer Pass.

June Butler said...

Where is my comment? I thought I'd left a few words yesterday. I love your painting, better than Bierstadt's really, and that's no BS. I remember the Rocky Mountains bright and clear with a few clouds around the highest, as you show them.

I love the Rockys, too. We had several wonderful family vacations in the mountains when our children were in their middle years, in Colorado and Wyoming.

JCF said...

Wot KittKatt Said, re your dad.