Usually we paint things that mean something to us – they are a memory, or a desire, a dream or a reality, a truth, sometimes a lie. Oftentimes we may not know what it is that draws us to paint it, we just know it stirs something within us. The more we feel for what we paint, surely the better the result will be. Every time I put tool to surface it is inevitable that I lay something of myself out for the world to see. Hopefully the result will speak to the viewer; sometimes it might not strike the desired chord but just maybe it will stir something of what it was that moved me to paint it in the first place. And if that happens, for just one person, I would have succeeded.
For some reason I am unclear about, rocks, as damnably difficult as they are to paint, stir something within me. Their often beautiful colour, their unpredictable, random shapes and textures, their age. I have many, many rocks in my gardens – rocks I have collected from various travels and brought home in suitcases like a mad woman. They have all settled in, yet somewhere down the road someone may wonder how a rock indigenous only to northern Italy made its way to an Ontario garden.
Duane Keiser did a series of small oils of landscapes in and around the rocky shores of Northeast Harbor, Maine and for me he hit just the right chord. I have thought about doing some rockscapes from a series of photos I took of Ramsey Island, off the west coast of Wales – I think I snapped a hundred photos that afternoon, I was so enthralled with the rockscapes. Some of the paintings in Keiser’s series evoked a similar response in me. Perhaps I will figure out how to approach it and will yet produce at least one lovely rockscape.
And this one, this one takes my breath away, also by Richard McKinley – I bought a whole book just so I could have this one painting: Pacific Silver, Mendocino Gold