Sometimes you wake up and find yourself in Seattle. AGAIN. I’ve been here for about a week now.
St Croix the morning I left (you’ll notice that the island is gearing up for another productive 3-drink morning…):
Seattle the morning I arrived:
Open letter the Citizens of Seattle: you can stop telling me that “it isn’t usually this grey.” I lived in this town for 9 years and I’m not interested in your lies.
But until coming back I don’t think that I fully realized how profoundly those 9 years influenced some really fundamental elements of my painting style. At some point I did realize that I had stopped describing form through the use of light and shadow. Why? Because obviously where there is no sun (that right Seattleites: there is NO sun) there are no shadows. I tend to use color to pull out form. And those colors are all pretty uniformly dark and muddy.
Images of some pieces by the so-called “Northwest Masters,” a group of artists working in this valley in the 1930s and 40s (these particular paintings happen to be by Mark Tobey, Kenneth Callahan, and Morris Graves):
Images of some of my work:
Obviously the comparison is not direct, but the region’s influence is undeniable. And while most of my conceptual concerns and those of the Northwest School diverge, like them I am also very submerged in the mystical; I am more interested in representing the light (and darkness) that my subjects give off and suck in rather than external sources of illumination.
I’ve got another 8 weeks here and I have to say that it’s exciting to be painting in the Grey Kingdom again.