Often times when I start the process of creating a painting, I have a clear idea what the painting is about – whether it is an idea, a feeling, or something physical/visual in the image that I want to focus on.
“Sunfall”, however, evolved a little differently…
The image is from a photo I took on a camping trip with my brothers up in the Adirondacks last November. As mentioned in other places in my blog, this is an annual trip that dates back over 20 years, when my father first took me and my older brother Matt to this spot. My father is no longer with us, but we still go to the same site, now with all 3 of my brothers (my two younger brothers were too young for those early trips).
What first drew me to the image was the distinctive look of the late afternoon autumn sun. As it glows on the grass in the foreground and passes through the water dancing off the rocks, it creates a scene that at the same time is both serene and full of motion.
As I painted, this remained a central theme- but I also found that the image took me to a place of reflection and celebration. I always have an emotional attachment to images taken on this trip, thinking about my late father and the importance of my brothers in my life – but this idea of loss and celebration expanded from there. With recent threats to our environment and looming cuts to the EPA, I thought a lot about my passion for the outdoors and the beauty in simple things like a mountain pond, rocks and wild grass… and whether it will be protected for future generations coming to this spot.
The title “Sunfall” is a play on “sunset” and the season “fall” – but to me is also about this idea of things waning with a hope for renewal – whether it is the day, the season, loved ones or small mountain pond.