Gre­gory Stocks

Find­ing light

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS - GRE­GORY STOCKS

Fol­low­ing a re­cent move from Utah to Ari­zona, Gre­gory Stocks has found him­self cap­ti­vated by his new sur­round­ings—the saguaro cacti, the red rocks, the bil­low­ing clouds. Each land­scape paint­ing is a re­ac­tion to the en­vi­ron­ment, par­tic­u­larly how light in­ter­acts with the scene. His upcoming ex­hi­bi­tion, Find­ing Light, at Moun­tain Trails Gallery in Se­dona, Ari­zona, high­lights these new pieces as well as au­tum­nal forestry and lakes from other nearby states.

“I see the land­scape as a stage that light plays out its drama on,” says Stocks. “And [it’s my goal] to find the dif­fer­ent lights and en­vi­ron­ments and how those work. The land­scape and the desert strikes me as in­ter­est­ing be­cause it’s such a harsh en­vi­ron­ment, but paint­ing them re­quires more sub­tlety than I would have thought. It’s been an in­ter­est­ing ex­plo­ration of the light and the desert. It can be pretty dra­matic.”

Stocks paints plein air of­ten, but also

draws sketches and takes pho­to­graphs of the land­scape. The fi­nal com­po­si­tions are an amal­ga­ma­tion of these el­e­ments, along with his mem­ory, to build his im­pres­sion of what he has seen. “I like to paint what I re­mem­ber a place look­ing like,” he shares.

In Cloud­bank Back­drop, Stocks paints saguaro cacti, a hori­zon line at al­most cen­ter, and the clouds fill­ing the up­per por­tion of the com­po­si­tion. The fo­cus of the work, Stocks ex­plains, is the clouds them­selves with their dra­matic back­light­ing. “That’s what I was go­ing for, that drama that por­trays how the light can re­ally en­hance and cre­ate a dra­matic at­mos­phere in the land­scape,” he says.

Other works, such as Strata, Red Rock Vista and the Back Way, hone in on the rock for­ma­tions—their col­ors, stri­a­tions and how the light cre­ates shad­ows. Strata, in par­tic­u­lar, de­picts a pop­u­lar area just out­side Se­dona that he has painted at sev­eral dif­fer­ent times of the day. He ex­plains, “I like the mono­lithic qual­ity of the rock for­ma­tions and the face of the work and how the light plays off of it.”

Find­ing Light will be on view at the gallery from Oc­to­ber 5 to 31, with a re­cep­tion on open­ing night from 5 to 8 p.m. Julie R. Wil­liams, di­rec­tor of Moun­tain Trails, adds, “We are very ex­cited to see each and ev­ery paint­ing that comes off the easel by Gre­gory Stocks. He’s an artist to watch as he cap­tures the at­mos­phere and light, which is so spe­cial to the West.”

The Back Way, oil, 48 x 60"

Cloud­bank Back­drop, oil, 48 x 48"

The Roar­ing Si­lence, oil, 48 x 60"

Red Rock Vista, oil, 48 x 48"

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