“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape-the loneliness of it; the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.” -ANDREW WYETH
I've recently reacquainted myself with Andrew Wyeth’s work. I teach an intensive in drawing for 6th-8th graders in Watsonville, CA, and as I prepared their lessons and artists to look at, Mr. Wyeth came to the forefront of my mind. His line quality and composition, his fierce commitment to drawing not only what he sees, but how he sees it- just perfection. His winter work is particularly wonderful. And, his images are good tools for both me and my students to study; a return to the roots; a return to drawing.
Winter to Wyeth was cold and snowy with long shadows and quiet days and nights. I can just imagine that crisp “crunch” as he walked through the snow and that biting cold as he breathed in the air making all of his senses rise up. Like Wyeth, you tend to notice every sound when its quiet, every light when its overcast and every line when the trees are bare. I say “I can imagine…” because, that’s how I grew up in Indiana, but now, living on the central coast of California, winter is (hopefully) green from the rain after a long season of brown. Here, not all deciduous trees commit to losing their leaves and, roses are blooming. It’s not really winter. I’m missing those long shadows and that sense-stimulating crisp to the air. I’m not complaining; it’s beautiful here and I appreciate it, it’s just different.
So, winter, for me, is to clean up, prepare, do the business things, plan, and look…at a lot of work, at how I do my process, at where I am going with all of this. So, I cleaned the studio, updated my website, wrote my first blog (this one) and inventoried my supplies. I am changing how I look at, how I approach and how I talk about my work. It’s not a full change, it’s an evolution. I want to breathe in that clean, crisp winter air; I want my senses open. I want to see those long shadows of my work and look at the lines and light a different way. I want to “winter” like Wyeth- to look at things with awe and renewed wonder, to be bold with my lines and take chances, be quiet with my process and committed to having each line, each drip, each dark next to light really mean something.