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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Paintings I've Not Done Yet--Landscapes

Copyright, Jim Lane
The Biltmore Spillway, Asheville, North Carolina
(A composite of two photos).
In the past I've seldom been moved to paint landscapes simply to capture a particularly beautiful vista of nature. To me, a landscape always seems more like a background in search of a foreground. Even when there occurs some object of particular interest within the painting, I find myself searching for some way to inject a human presence. I guess I like to paint happenings. If the action demands a landscape, then so be it, but I've got any number of attractive background landscapes some quite similar to these. Here some of my favorites feature the works of man, whether it's a magnificent engineering wonder such as the Bixby Creek Bridge on the California Coastal Highway (above) or a rundown jail in the desert town of Chloride, Arizona, (bottom) insofar as their potential for a painting is concerned, they are both pretty much on even ground.
Copyright, Jim Lane
The California Coastal Highway from
Los Angeles to San Francisco.
In more recent years, I've become even more exacting in the photos from which I choose to paint. The scene has to be attractive and interesting, but I also want to pursue the unexpected, searching for some kind of humor, irony, or controversy which I can accentuate with a clever title. Would you believe, that's a pretty tall order? For example, in painting the Grand Canyon, I did so through the front windshield of a 1964 T-bird as it catapulted over the North Rim bearing Thelma and Louise (remember the movie finale). I call it simply, A Visit to the Grand Canyon. The scene of the Grand Canyon (below) was one I rejected in that I did not need or want a foreground other than the car. In painting a Venetian scene featuring the main channel past San Marcos, I did so featuring a giant cruise ship poking a good portion of its bow into the scene. I called it, Intruder of the Seas. The Venetians love the tourist's money but hate their ships.
Copyright, Jim Lane
The Grand Canyon--180 Degrees.
That's either the temperature or the visual span (take your pick).
Except for the French mill (below) on the Seine between Paris and Versailles, all the photos today feature homegrown, all-American sights and sites. The French mill, with its German flavored architecture is home to a large restaurant featuring traditional French cuisine, French wines, and French paintings for sale. Don't try to bargain with a Frenchman over the price of his work. First of all, it's a waste of time, and second, he will probably take offense. In my attempt, I didn't understand enough French and he not enough English for either of us to insult the other...or negotiate a sale.
Copyright, Jim Lane
The French Mill, somewhere along the Seine.
Near the end of our six-week jaunt around the western rim of the United States in 2014, I visited Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin East in Wisconsin, having already been to Taliesin West just outside Scottsdale, Arizona. If you ever get the chance, to see either, or preferably both, do so. The contrast between the two is staggering. Of the two the Arizona campus is the most photogenic...nearly everywhere you look. That's not the case with Taliesin East. I had to search there for a shot adequate to display Wright's incredible talent. The one below, came closest. The structure in the background is not the main house but one wing of the guest house, now occupied by an architectural student and his wife studying on a Wright Fellowship.
Copyright, Jim Lane
Taliesin East, Spring Green, Wisconsin.
Despite the rugged natural beauty of the California coast along U.S. 101, for the artist/architecture enthusiast (me), William Randolph Hearst's "ranch" he called San Simeon is easily the highlight of the two days it takes to drive between California's largest cities. And while the architecture is magnificent, if a little quirky, the view from the top of Hearst's mountain is nothing less than spectacular. Hearst's architect, Julia Morgan, spared no expense (in spending Hearst's fortune) as she crafted one incredible, sun-drenched view after another in virtually every direction. The shot below was my favorite.
San Simeon View, looking east (I think).
There's no ocean so I'm pretty sure it's not looking west.
As the sixth group in this series, like the others, these photos are available free of charge for use by painters as source material for their own work on an individual basis. Simply e-mail me with a request to do so at and indicate which photo you would like to use as well as your full name (no nicknames) and geographical location. If you have a website, include the URL; and please, when finished, e-mail me a photo of your painting. These images are not for publication as photos (except on a royalty basis) nor are they in the public domain.
Copyright, Jim Lane
A fun place to visit, but I'd definitely
 not want to live in Chloride.

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