Pine Creek Gorge: Paintings 3

I have been introduced to a new color, an unlikely mix of two transparents. It is said to resemble lapis lazuli, the famed color of the Renaissance, which was costly enough to make the greediest people yearn for it and the greatest poets name poems for it.* I can’t testify to the lazuli likeness, never have seen the pigment. But I can say that the color mix I happened upon makes water much easier to deal with:

littlefourmilerun1216orig1w Little Four Mile Run 1 (Pine Creek Gorge Series), 12 x 16 inch, oil on board, painted, by permission, from a photo by Charlie Bierly

The faux lapis lazuli allows the water to take on varying characteristics, sometime reflecting the sky, sometimes showing the wet earth and rocks below. I was so taken by the color that I went back to the other painting I showed a few days ago of Little Four Mile Run and reworked the water a bit. When I get a decent photo of the reworked version, I’ll post it here.

For those who are still curious about this stream and its surrounds, the Turkey Path Trail leads to the top of the Gorge from the  biking trail along Pine Creek, following Little Four-Mile Run. Here’s a blogger’s description of his trek to the top and back.**

In the meantime, I’m still dealing with my greens.  Here’s a painting of the Crick/Creek from near the surface, done with great slathers of paint. It was fun to work with the slabs of buttery hues:


Pine Creek with Tree (1), 12 x 16, oil on board, with permission from photo by Charley Bierly.

One artist friend suggested that I ignore the “local” color (the color Ma Nature uses) altogether and just go with  arbitrary color, something like the “strident” hues of the Fauves.

I may have to try that at a later date, but right now, it’s green, green, green I’m dealing with. Well, and a bit of lemon yellow, which easily reflects green. –June

*Robert Browning’s bishop, in The Bishop Orders his Tomb at Saint Praxed’s Church (1845), wishes for a piece of lapis lazuli as “blue as a vein o’er the Madonna’s breast” which will lie with him in his tomb, poised “beneath my knees/ Like God the Father’s globe on both his hands.”

And William Butler Yeats’ poem, titled Lapis Lazuli (1938) is a paeon to the joy of artistic creating:

All things fall and are built again,
And those that build them again are gay.

Two Chinamen, behind them a third,
Are carved in lapis lazuli,
Over them flies a long-legged bird,
A symbol of longevity;
The third, doubtless a serving-man,
Carries a musical instmment.

Every discoloration of the stone,
Every accidental crack or dent,
Seems a water-course or an avalanche,
Or lofty slope where it still snows
Though doubtless plum or cherry-branch
Sweetens the little half-way house
Those Chinamen climb towards, and I
Delight to imagine them seated there;
There, on the mountain and the sky,
On all the tragic scene they stare.
One asks for mournful melodies;
Accomplished fingers begin to play.
Their eyes mid many wrinkles, their eyes,
Their ancient, glittering eyes, are gay.

**As I am writing this, I’m realizing that I must go back  to Pennsylvania, climb the Turkey Track Trail, and paint that waterfall, in its full reality. Charlie’s photos are wonderful, but they are still only photos. Or maybe I’m just having a wave of first of the year homesickness.

Happy New Year everyone. January 20th is a-coming on!!!!

This entry was posted in Art, landscape, painting, Pennsylvania, Pine Creek Gorge and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Pine Creek Gorge: Paintings 3

  1. june says:

    Thanks, Sheila,

    Pine Creek reminds me of the Lochsa River in Idaho (or perhaps I’ve got it upside-down — the Lochsa reminded me of Pine Creek). Even the foliage seemed to carry the same greens.

    Of course, I knew Pine Creek when I was 3 feet high, so it perhaps seemed bigger and faster and deeper than it would now. The Lochsa, which I saw just last summer, was big and fast and deep and gorgeous — as I remember Pine Creek being.


  2. Sheila says:

    The blue is wonderful! I’ve always wanted a necklace of that lapis which interestingly enough is the perfect blue to go with the lowly blue jean.

    Loving that green one as much as you – I want to walk right into it. Don’t think that has anything to do with the snow piling up outside my window although it might!


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