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Knowing Mountains

I spent our five hour round trip to Dartmouth Hitchcock yesterday really looking at the mountains as the sun sink and then disappeared behind the greens and then the Taconic. I brought the mountains back into the studio with me to finish painting I started a day or two ago.

I think I’m like most painters in that, when I’m doing it, I feel that this is the only thing I should do with life. Then I have doubts as to what exactly yet another painting of the Vermont landscape contributes to the world at large.

I was googling a few technique videos when I ran across an essay singing the virtues of representational art, including landscape painting, in the digital age. One of the points in the essay was that so much of painting in the modern age as much about a familiarity with paint and brushes and technique as it is about an intimate knowledge of mountains and trees or the lines on a person’s face.

I’m still acquiring my knowledge base of paint and brushes, but I felt sad for that part of the world that hasn’t burned into its psyche the soul-restoring power of white-gold light falling across mountains about to go from green to red and gold or the arousing energy of a summer storm churning across a valley. Suddenly each attempt to capture the awesome and the inspiring seemed worthwhile, even if it is a step towards being able to successfully share it with someone else.