Cauldron of the Sun
I painted two small versions on location on separate occasions before I arrived at the composition and design that I wanted: this wide format that contains the expansive sunset as well as the broad bajada sloping down from Mount San Jacinto.
Urban environments are known worlds to us, places where we encounter 90-degree corners, city blocks, uniform signage. Parking meters. Leaf blowers. Business hours. Cities are measurable and comfortable. They're expressions of ourselves; we built them for our use and convenience.
Nature is mysterious and unfamiliar; it has a foreign element because we didn’t create it, yet it exists. We envision ourselves as a part of the landscape, but yet feel entirely separate from it at the same time. One doesn’t often encounter a 90-degree angle in nature. That uncomfortable sense of not belonging can be disquieting. In past centuries humans were afraid of nature and sought to tame and control it; I think we fool ourselves into thinking that we, in our contemporary form, have somehow now done so. Our instincts, seeking comfort and convenience, decide that open space isn’t ‘doing’ anything, so it needs to be made useful, with, say, a shopping mall, or maybe a solar facility. We reform nature into more productive and measurable qualities.
Wild places give us space and quiet to contemplate, to wonder, to be in awe. We do see something of ourselves reflected in nature, we're drawn to it; the unmeasurable qualities need to be given more importance.
Every so often I'll change up the featured painting seen here. The idea is to give a little insight into why I painted something, of what I'm searching for in a particular piece.
Interested in acquiring this painting? It will be available at the Masters of the American West, on view February 10 - March 25 at The Autry.