“Speaking of painting in its finest essentials, one must read widely in the documents and histories, ascend mountains, and trace rivers to their source, and only then can one create one’s idea’s.”
– K’un-ts’an,, (Zen painter 14th century)
"If you wish to record these wonders of creation, you must first be filled with enthusiasm for their beauty, then you must give yourself over to a detailed confrontation with them and sate yourself with them completely. So you must wander about in them and sate your eye with them; After you have arranged the impressions in your breast you will paint all this with complete ease and fluency without your eye being aware of the painting and your hand of the brush and ink and everything will be your own individual image of them."
-Kuo Hsi (1020-1090) Chinese artist
quoted from his 'Essay on Landscape Painting'
”Whether the artist works directly from nature, from memory, or from fantasy, nature is always the source of his creative impulses.”
-Hans Hofmann, 20th c. German-American modernist painter and teacher
”Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race."
-(Stephen Dedalus in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
One of the most important things I did for my development as an artist was to spend many years in my late 20’s and 30’s, (when I had the ability and few responsibilities) traveling the world and experiencing the dynamic, living landscape of this incredible planet for myself.
After many years of academic and studio schooling, and feeling burned out on artist life in the big city of New York, I felt that the best way to grow was to study the source of visual aesthetic itself, namely Nature, Light, Form, Color, and myself as a sensing being. As an artist, it can become easy to begin to only think in terms of the history of Art and intellectual ideas, and lose the reference for it all. It can be all too easy living in man-made culture to lose our connection to the transcendent Divine, that is manifesting and powering the created universe in front of our very eyes each and every day.
For me, a deep immersive study of wild landscape, weather, animals, plant life, the geology of the earth, is and was an important compliment to the study of man-created art and architecture in my education as a artist, and creator of culture, and a maker of beauty.
To see every color and form and shape and texture and hue,
radiating from within the rock and sky and vapor and branch...
This is the essence of Earth Study.
”Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.”
-William Wordsworth (19c. Poet)
Here are some self-portraits I made during my travels for my own record, in some of the most beautiful and wonderful spots I have hiked and explored.