The last of the five groups of paintings from the Petrified Forest Residency is titled “The Painted Desert, 2.” It is a counterpart of the fourth grouping shown in the last blog, and acts more as a bookend, echoing “The Painted Desert, 1” . Its one bit of commentary lies in the tiny part of the Painted Desert Inn that can be seen in the top right painting, ,far off on the Bidahochi ledge (in this photo it looks like a smudge of light pink — it’s more clear in the single view in the Continuation).
That bit of the Painted Desert Inn, seen across the eroding plain, blends with the landscape and gives the viewer a sense of the space. The top left painting was done at a different time than the other two and was painted on a foggy morning. The tops of the badlands peered out from the washes, which were slightly misty. The bottom painting, the long one that I also showed on the last blog, is the sight of the Painted Desert that elicits gasps from visitors and that keeps ringing in my ears.
I have just finished working with my framing partner to float these paintings and wire them. That will enable me to get photographs in which the color is evenly distributed across the individual paintings and to group them where the light in the studio is best for the photographing the sets. I hadn’t realized the difficulty of photographing the sets until I did these, and I think, with the floated frames, I will be able to overcome the worst of the problems.
I am also thinking that I might group fewer of these, saving others for single viewings. Unlike the panoramas I’ve been painting, these can be separated without leaving holes in the overall scene. The question of presentation is often a different kind of problem than that of context; it can require placement in its exact physical setting in order to make the best decisions. My studio is one setting but not exactly the same as a gallery setting, I assume (I hope?)
But, it will be a while before I get the paintings finally sorted and photographed in high res by my resident photographer. Of course, I’ve been saying “final” for some months now, so don’t hold your breath. –June
The continuation of this post shows the individual paintings of the set above.