Landscapes tug at my heart and pull on my soul. I have traveled through landscapes, settled into landscapes, designed landscapes, breathed in landscapes, tromped through landscapes and tried to analyze and understand them. Capturing their essences is a focus of my artwork.
Author Jay Appleton, in The Experience of Landscape, theorizes that we are drawn to those qualities of landscape that were critical to human evolution. Prospect & refuge allowed us to ‘see’ and ‘not be seen’ affording opportunity, safety and the promise of food and shelter. As I experience the visual world I find that those same qualities attract my attention and pull me in.
As a child I was drawn to the scent and shelter of the neighbors pine grove and a perch above the river that flowed through our town. Neither of these places were spectacular scenes. The pines occupied a small side yard and the river was a lazy muddy brown. Still they offered refuge & prospect.
As an adult I place a high value on living close to the incredible soothing greenness of northwest forests, never tire of the same hiking trails that wander through waves of bear grass and offer long vistas and find that standing on a beach feeling the power of ocean meeting land stirs the soul.
As an artist I keep returning to those scenes that, when broken down into their visual resources, can be understood as qualities of prospect and refuge. No matter the medium, those qualities must be present. And no matter the scene, the viewers comfort or discomfort may depend on the balance of those qualities.