Sunday, April 12, 2009
The storm begins
My first day in Tubac, Dad took me to the arts center, where he works as a greeter. It's a beautiful place, with fine, open display areas and an interesting mixed-media show.
Then, he took me to the Karen Newby Gallery, where my painting life changed forever.
There, I saw the work of Louisa McElwain. She lives in Santa Fe, does a lot of her painting in plein air - even the first one that I saw, which must be 10 feet by 10 feet. Leroy, a charming man who works in the gallery, says she has a gizmo that attaches these huge canvases to her truck so that she can paint on site. He says she uses a putty knife, and Golden oils in gallon containers.
I was just floored by her work. And I vowed to return to the colors and boldness that first drew me to painting, and which, honestly, I'd been backing away from, all this winter in New England. My painting might have been getting "better," but it also was getting to be less of my heart.
So thank you, Louisa McElwain, for painting with such vigor and such abandon. Thank you for reawakening my eyes and my senses and my palette!