envisioning the future / by Philip Tarlow

the gouache on the left was painted on site at cottonwood creek, a few miles from my studio in the foothills of the sangre de christo mouuntains. it is one of a very large number of paintings in gouache on paper, which then evolved the following year into small oils on canvas.

on the right, a detail of one of the latest series of large works in acrylic and collaged paper on canvas, painted in my studio and based on the gouaches and oils that were painted pleine air. 

a few days ago, i ran across this small gouache study painted on site in the summer of 2009, and was struck by how close it is in spirit and in the nature of the marks to the recent oil. at the time, i was experimenting with moving away from a literal translation of the landscape and towards a freer, more gestural interpretation. 

it's exciting and gratifying for me to see myself, in a sense, envisioning the future four years ago. 

it brings to mind this quote from maxwell k. hearn's book in my march 8th blog:

14th c. chinese painter ni zan painted virtually the same composition his entire life-a grove of trees on a rocky foreground shore juxtaposed with distant mountains-the subtle variations in each iteration reveal changes in his circumstances and state of mind.

 pleine air gouache-8.27.2009 cottonwood creek

6.5x7.5"

rocky creek  2013  (detail)  72x38"

acrylic & collaged paper on canvas