“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
One of the most important decisions I did for my artistic development was to spend many years in my late 20’s and 30’s, (when I had the physical ability and very 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 living the hard-scrabble artist life in New York, I felt that the best way for me to grow was to study the source of visual aesthetic itself. I would travel the wild, and study Nature, Light, Form, Color, and myself as a sensing being.
As an artist, it can become easy to find oneself only thinking in terms of the history of Art and intellectual ideas, and lose the reference for it all, which is the expression of direct experience. It can be all too easy living always in man-made culture to lose our connection to a transcendent Divine that is manifesting and powering the created universe of beauty in front of our very eyes each and every day, at each mysterious moment of life.
For me, the deep immersive study light itself on the landscape, of physical forms, of wild landscape, weather, animals, plant life, and the geology of God’s magnificent earth, was and is an important factor in understanding human artistic expression.
To see every color and form and shape and texture and hue, radiating from within the rocks and skies and forests...
This is the essence of Earth Study.
”Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.”
-William Wordsworth (19c. Poet)
What follows in this album are some self-portraits I made for my own records, during my wilderness travels, in some of the most beautiful and wonderful spots I have hiked and explored. Although I have spent time traveling abroad for cultural enrichment, nothing beats North America for sheer grandeur or sublime natural beauty.