This Land is Your Land

Landscapes—whose are your favorites—Turner’s? Van Gogh’s? Monet’s? Bierstadt’s? Diebenkorn’s?  Can you picture the paintings done by each one of these artists simply by reading their name?

Landscapes can evolve from a multiple of sources.  They do not need to be created en plein air or from a single photo of a visited or a desired-to-be-visited place.  They can come from recall, imagination, or a whiff of a memory in which we can just glimpse the light and forms of place in our mind’s eye.

Universally human response to landscape is presented in the theory of “prospect and refuge” simply described by Dr. Mark Burton (Maxine’s husband):Prospect- Opportunities visible ahead of you: a few cattle in a pasture and a path leading toward the horizon along a flowing stream of clear water. Refuge- Protection from behind: the pasture is visible from beneath some overhanging branches suggesting that you are looking out from the edge of the forest, or even better, from the side of a bluff.

Visual preferences caused by evolutionary advantages that genetic predisposition. Examples – Apparently no matter where a population lives geographically, there is a measurable average preference for savannah landscape. Evolutionary psychologists theorize that this is the residue of eons of evolution on the African savannah.
We prefer shiny things, theoretically because, in part, they mimic the reflection of a pool of clean water.

This week we will navigate the landscape in a manner designed to prevent riding in the “ruts” of obviousness. Although horizon lines are welcome.  Any materials, any substrate, including underpaintings—all ok.  We’ve used this method before—no whining, (you all loved it in the end.)  Two weeks for this so if your’e quick, work on several.

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