Two Views of Nature: Horses/Der Waldprophet (The Prophet of the Woods)

With Huntsville blooming its way into summer, announcing nature's renewed abundance, I sometimes wish to meander into my nostalgia, drinking gallons of cold tea and letting myself feel the intangible poignancy in the air as I sit upon my balcony (where there are now many pots filled with seedlings). The days are already hot enough to sear my skin and the night breezes whisper of some odd glimmering magic. The red Alabama clay hardens and cracks, while everything appears to be viewed through a dusty coating of pollen. [In the photo below: a view from Monte Sano.]
 Therefore, in celebration of this time of year, I would like to discuss two of my many depictions of nature. Both were actually painted toward the end of the year in 2008, but each was painted to express some part of the mystery and allure of nature which is most overwhelmingly vibrant during the spring and summer. [Below: Horses, 2008.]
 The first painting, Horses, was created after months of weekly bike rides with my father. One day, as we forced our pedals ever-faster in the heat, I noticed a mare and foal behind a fence along the trail. They seemed so comfortable and calm, a harmonious continuation of their surroundings. Much like Franz Marc and many other artists who have loved horses, I wanted to stress the gentle spirituality that one feels when watching these powerful-yet-elegant creatures. I watched the foal grow over the summer, every month remarking to my father at how much bigger he was or how his coat was changing. I found much peace while watching the horses graze among the trees. [Below: Relaxing in Kochel am See, Southern Germany, where many of the early Expressionists, including Franz Marc, enjoyed vacationing.]
 As the summer of 2008 drew to a close (and what a busy, interesting, educational year it proved to be), I began longing to return to Germany. I was fortunate enough to be able to afford the trip, and planned a stay of two months. As I sat in a train one day, not long after having seen the paintings in the Lenbachhaus, I began scribbling in my sketchbook. I found myself thinking of Schumann's Waldszenen (Forest Scenes-- one of my favorite collections of pieces for piano), as well as my ever-present fascination with birds and their symbolic significance to many cultures (in fact, in all of the cultures with which I am at all familiar). [Below: Der Waldprophet, 2008.]

It was not until a few months later, in December, that I remembered this sunny scene and decided to transform the doodle on canvas, and this was to be the last painting I was to complete in the U.S. before moving to Canada for graduate school. . . the flight of a little winged prophet in the woods, much like the nightingales I once sought in the forests of Brandenburg in 2005-- elusive and divine, proclaiming life and joy.

[Both paintings are available for sale, as are prints and postcards. Please inquire for prices.]

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