Columbus in Alabama

I had the pleasure of seeing replicas of the Niña and Pinta at Ditto Landing last week, and considering how interested I am in history, civilization, and dream-like juxtapositions of the Old World and New, the full-size ships, entirely black with pine tar, manned by crews of adventurous volunteers, and resting at the edge of Huntsville, were surreal and fascinating, perfect subjects for one of my abstractions [above, The Niña and Pinta at the Docks].The colors of the marina are grayed greens, blues, lilacs, yellows from the occasional wildflowers speckling the grass, and now that the air is cooler, patches of yellow, orange, and deep red from the Fall foliage. I mixed my paints in strategic groupings [above] before beginning my work so as to properly capture the variety of colors at the marina without upsetting the overall harmony of the piece; I wanted everything in the painting, whether completely wild or completely man-made and however disconnected, to become comfortably connected.
In the design of this piece [above], two things were very important to me; that is, first, to depict the ships clearly enough that they suggested historic vessels without going into any kind of photographic detail. I wanted a bit more subtlety, I wanted the ships to be dynamic, dignified, mysterious, and I wanted it to be unclear as to which era the scene belonged. Second, I wanted to pay homage and create a connection to an earlier work, painted after a day spent at Ditto Landing three years ago. I did this by echoing some of the lines of the highway bridge in the previous painting, far off in the background, as if the painting itself were a sort of timeline of past, present, and tentative future sojourns.

No comments