One summer day when I was working with my dear friend, Lesley Cohen, here in Vermont, we went out plein aire painting and came back with our work for a critique. After some helpful, kindly, conversation on her part, I realized that maybe realism had had its way with me and it was time to move on.
The next day, I started playing around with the idea of landscape and time and how they might fit together in one place. What if the paper was divided into sections and the sections became a bit like a storyboard? And what if the sections overlapped a bit and were broken into by other geometric shapes that made places where small "sketches" of the mountains, the sky, the rain existed? What if these paintings described places? What if these pieces described days? "Storm Day" is the name of this first gridded landscape--and I do have to give a bit of a nod to Piet Mondrian here.... It is a mixed media piece, using watercolor, colored pencil and graphite.
"Mountain Day" is a similar mixed media piece, using the same materials. It describes the sights and feelings I had driving from Massachusetts to Vermont and back one winter day to visit my Mom in Bennington. I tried to capture that beautiful snowy day with dramatic skies and lovely little grasses and shrubs and trees growing through the snow. I wanted it to have an organic, dynamic impact and included imaginative markings meant to convey the "feel" of living things, the "sense" of growth and promise.
These gridded landscapes were a good connection for me between realism and abstraction. They gave me the opportunity to observe to remember and to record reality and then to create a new vision out of those observations and sketches and photos.