Collector’s Focus: Visions of the Fall
Rick Stevens paints either among the aspens at 10,000 feet in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains or at the lower elevation of his studio in Santa Fe. Inspired by the natural, spiritual energy of the landscape, he often lets his impressions flow into abstraction allowing an inner light to emanate from his paintings, rather than trying to capture the effects of sunlight on a particular scene.
In Quaking Yellow, however, he paints the spiritual reality of fall aspen groves, sunlight shining through and off the leaves shown against the dark evergreen mountain behind.
Speaking of his plein air work he says, “The southwest landscape is irresistibly picturesque. More than just an exercise, for me it is dipping back into the well. I feel great respect for traditional approaches to landscapes, and also want to pay attention to unexpected effects that happen along the way and manage to edge the painting toward mystery.”
Another Santa Fe artist, Forrest Moses also maintains a tension between abstraction and reality in his paintings of the landscape. He seeks “to discover nature’s truth and give life to a painted image by understanding the rhythms and pulses behind appearances.” In Galisteo Riverbed - October he paints a small river that arises in the Sangre de
Cristos and flows to the Rio Grande. It flows inexorably from its source through seasons of growth, decay and death. His paintings and monoprints are strongly influenced by his experience of Japanese aesthetics during his time in the service in the Far East.
He embodies an eastern aesthetic about life as well. “I find that ‘being’ in nature is the best way for me…my painting comes from that focused silent place because I am alone in that work process, but I yank myself back into abundant distraction when I seek human companionship. The trick, as it is said, is to be in the world but not of it.”
Gordon Brown paints another river flowing through Autumn Colors and explains, “My paintings are all about light and mood.” Painting on location in Colorado, he says, “I have the responsibility as a painter to record and reveal the natural beauty of the landscape as faithfully as possible.”
His influences range from the work of 19th-century American tonalists to the plein air techniques of the Chinese painter Shang Ding who visited Grand Junction, Colorado, for a year. His friend, abstract painter Jac Kephart, taught him about creating textured surfaces.
Chris Charlebois’ textured surfaces capture the stiff remains of summer plants in Iona #4.
He says, “My goal as a painter has always been to simply express. Nature is the source of that expression. I look for the gesture in nature. It is this dominant line of movement and structure that all the elements in a painting will be based upon. By taking apart (abstracting) the components of the subject, then rebuilding making systematic logical choices, and at the same time using memory, intuition and invention, a result of clear expression can be attained.”
Painting in British Columbia, Charlebois paints the transcendently mundane aspects of the fall landscape.
Fall is often seen as a sad end to summer. The season, though, provides its own pleasures even for as quiet and moody a person as Nathaniel Hawthorne who wrote, “I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
In the pages of this special section, collectors will find landscapes and nature scenes from leading Western artists, depicting
the spellbinding colors of the harvest season.
Fall in the Texas Hill Country is the ideal time for Chuck and Barbara Mauldin to venture into the local landscape and paint amidst the crisp autumn air. “The oppressive heat of the summer is in the rearview, and while fall colors are typically not as spectacular as in other areas of the country, anything not green is subject to exaggeration,” the husband and wife team says. Both artists consider their plein air paintings to be finished works, treasured among collectors. Chuck’s oil Boos Road Farm Houses will be in the Plein Air Artists of Colorado 22nd Annual National Show from October 5 to 28.
“Autumn Whisper was inspired by a trip into the mountains when the fall season was making its statement,” says Linda Glover Gooch of her oil painting, which depicts a soft, serene water scene. “The reflection of the warm tones on the cool water were begging to be put onto canvas. To be painting in the trees with leaves falling among you, the wind, the sound of the water, this is what artists thrive on. It just doesn’t last long enough; before you know it the peak of fall season hits, and you are forced to wait another year. That is the beauty of art, to remind us of those days, taking us back in time.”
Artist Jeff Love paints the beauty of the mountain states in plein air. “As summer’s bloom fades and morphs into the hues of fall, again I find myself amazed at the wonder of nature...and now again, here is fall, with its brilliance, growing cooler as each day passes...the mountains change so quickly, but the desert is subtle, taking her time, allowing me to linger in the colors of the early fall sky.”
Ron Kucinski’s acrylic They Escaped Halloween encapsulates one of the quintessential symbols of fall: the pumpkin. The piece, which features a large pumpkin in the foreground, takes on a comical approach in its title, suggesting that the popular orange gourds escaped the fate of a jack-o’-lantern. “Halloween has past, Thanksgiving is a few days away, and an early snow has covered the farm fields. The sunset ends one more day of anxious waiting for the pumpkins. If only they can go unnoticed they’ll be spared,” says Kucinski. “I enjoy painting late day or nocturnal scenes especially if snow is an element of the scene...being a realist painter
I strive for spectacular skies, sunrises and sunsets.”
Located in Basalt, Colorado, Ann Korologos Gallery has represented fine artists inspired by the allure of the West for more than 20 years. “Western landscapes are some of the most diverse and dramatic in the country, and our artists certainly represent that. All of our landscape painters find their inspiration on scene and share the passion of documenting the majestic land and lifestyle of the West,” says gallery owner Ann Korologos. The gallery showcases artists nationwide working in a variety of mediums.
8. Barbara Mauldin, Autumn Blaze, oil, 9 x 12"
9. Linda Glover Gooch, Autumn Whisper, oil on linen, 30 x 27" 10. Ann Korologos Gallery,
Left, oil on linen, 33 x 45", by Andy Taylor.
11. Jeff Love, Changing Hues, oil, 20 x 24"
12. Jeff Love, Lingering on the Horizon, oil, 30 x 40"
1. Gallery 1261, Autumn Colors, oil, 14 x 24", by Gordon Brown.
2. Abend Gallery, Iona #4, oil, 42 x 42", by Chris Charlebois. 3. Hunter Kirkland Contemporary, Quaking Yellow, oil on canvas, 16 × 14" (framed), by Rick Stevens. 4. Lewallen Galleries, Galisteo Riverbed - October, oil on canvas, 40 x 42", by Forrest Moses. 5. Ron Kucinski, They Escaped Halloween, acrylic, 14 x 18” 6. Chuck Mauldin, Boos Road Farm Houses, oil, 9 x 12" 7. Chuck Mauldin, Hillside Colors, oil, 9 x 12"