In nature the birds sing, but so does the inspiration in Troy Collin’s new show, titled A Song for the Season, opening December 7 at Mockingbird Gallery in Bend, Oregon.
Collins, who now lives in Hamilton, Montana, once lived for a year in Bend and was enamored with the natural wonders of central Oregon. He will return to the gallery with nearly 20 new paintings, each of which exemplifies aspects of nature, from the color change in autumn, to the delicate presence of snow in quiet forest scenes, to the mesmerizing light that glows off the white bark of aspen trees. “When I’m in an aspen grove there’s just nothing else like it. The light and color is magnificent. I have some aspens on my property here in Hamilton and it’s a beautiful area. Aspens hold a unique power in the natural world,” the artist says, adding that aspens are frequent subjects within his loose,
painterly style. “When I start a painting I’m just looking for those dynamic shapes, whether it’s the foliage in the foreground or the mountains in the background. When I’m standing in a scene, nature can almost be overwhelming, so you have to choose what to focus on.”
Working with thick impasto paint, Collins approaches each painting differently, from a more traditional way with the shapes blocked in then allowing the paint to build up again and again, to another method entirely. “Sometimes I’ll just put on rubber gloves and start globbing the paint on in big chunks. Ninety percent of the paint goes on in the first 10 percent of the painting,” Collins says. “I’ll move it around, mixing directly on the canvas so it creates thicker and more energetic paint.”
New works in the Mockingbird show include Here in the Light, a work that features what must be every conceivable hue of green. “I put some green on the canvas and I slowly began making a whole harmony of greens, including as they shifted into yellow-greens and orange,” the painter says.
In Walking in the Light, Collins pushes and pulls between the foreground and background, slowly finding a neutral place where both can work together. “I have to be mindful to not have too much intensity in either, or else the painting doesn’t work,” he says.
Other works in the December show include Autumn’s Hymn and With a Song in Your Heart, two tall and narrow works that show off the thinness and fragile nature of aspen trees, and An Early Winter Song, which presents a beautiful snow scene with distant mountains framed within fall color.
The show continues through January 3, 2019, in Oregon.
Walking in the Light, oil on canvas, 48 x 60"
With a Song in Your Heart, oil on canvas, 40 x 16”
Here in the Light, oil on canvas, 48 x 36”