Diamonds in Our Own Backyards - Perspectives No. 119

        Diamonds in Our Own Backyards
                                                                   Perspectives No. 119

                                   oil painting of country road, by John Hulsey
                                          Winter Thaw                             Oil                        Hulsey
   We used to think that winter was a season of comparative rest, with an easier pace to our workdays since there is no work to be done in the yard. But as we’ve gotten older, the pace of work in the winter has increased exponentially, in part because we travel so much at other times of the year, in part because we have taken on many more commitments than ever before. All of this eats into one’s precious painting time. Perhaps some of you have noticed the same thing happening in your lives?

   Which brings us to the subject of carving out time for painting. On these very full days I find it difficult to get interested in driving around looking for a good painting spot. Time spent scouting is time I could be painting at my easel! My solution is to look directly around me for a subject which I might be able to make into a decent painting. It helps to have had some experience painting outdoors, just as it helps to have a good eye for composition. But over the years I have come to understand that it isn’t the place that makes an inspired work of art. It is what we bring to the process that counts.

Since we artists are creators, not duplicators, we can figuratively move heaven and earth to make our pictures work. Bring a tree over, eliminate the phone pole, add an interesting figure or create all new colors if need be. The power to make a sow’s ear into a silk purse lies in our vision and our hands, and that power is at the root of all great art. That’s why we talk about “diamonds in our own backyards” when we teach. We start where we are, and then move outward from there.

   Living in a landscape which, generally speaking, has not much entertainment value compared to a Colorado or California, for instance, we have had to develop a knack for finding the extraordinary in the seemingly mundane. No snow-capped mountains reflected in turquoise lakes here, just Nature’s subtly beautiful hand at work. We are grateful for this, because it makes us ask deeper questions about what it is we are trying to say with our art. And deeper questions often result in better paintings. Lessons learned in our own backyard are perhaps the best lessons, because they change the way we look at the larger world.

   Enjoy some winter inspiration with a slide show of some of our favorite winter paintings by the masters - Twachtman, Crane, Bierstadt, Kandinsky, Courbet, Bilibin, Pissarro, Hassam, Bodmer, Gauguin, Volkov, Wyant, Pissarro, van Gogh, Korovin, Monet, Seurat, Sisley, Rousseau and Metcalf.

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Copyright Hulsey Trusty Designs, L.L.C. (except where noted). All rights reserved.
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Photograph of John Hulsey and Ann Trusty in Glacier National Park
We are artists, authors and teachers with over 40 years of experience in painting the world's beautiful places. We created The Artist's Road in order to share our knowledge and experiences with you, and create a community of like-minded individuals.  You can learn more about us and see our original paintings by clicking on the links below.
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