A really frustrating day spent sorting out a puncture on the bike when I should have been packing. Cheered up by getting back to a really interesting mail from Bill Brody about foregrounds. He said :
"The far view of any scene is often pretty easy to determine, and being far away does not change much when I move around a bit. The foreground is what changes a lot based on exactly where I stand to paint, so I send a lot of time finding just the right foreground spot for a painting. I look for physical accommodation as well as just the right mix of detail right at my feet. This concern for the foreground meshes with the goal of painting what it is like to be there, immersed in a place. "
He sent me a shot of his new painting of Coal Creek. He's just finished being artist in residence there :
"The location is maybe 100 yards to the west from the Murie Cabin, also known as the East Fork cabin. I painted standing less than 2 feet from the edge of the East Fork of the Toklat River terminus of Coal Creek looking south toward the glacier headwaters. This cabin is where you are housed during a Denali Artist in Residency. It was built during the construction of the Park road in 1928, I believe, and used by Adolph Murie starting in the late 1930's to study the Toklat wolf pack, by now the most studied wolf pack in the world. He examined the dynamics of predator/prey relationships and his study determined that wolves were essential to the healthy ecology of the region and were not the cause of the decline in the Dall Sheep population. Visit http://www.wolfsongalaska.org/wolf_denali_murie.html for some background information on Murie and his studies. Coal Creek runs past the cabin. Coal is found up the creek. There are wolves nearby. Bears visit the cabin at times. The window shutters are studded with big nails with the sharp ends protruding outward a couple of inches to discourage entry. I have seen photographs of bears peering in the windows taken from within by an artist friend Kes Woodward and his wife, Missy."
We talk about being ‘grounded' when somebody is at peace with the place they are in. I'm really looking forward to working with Bill, somebody who has a wider vision than most about the kinds of places where you can work. It's encouraged me to limit my kit to just oils and charcoal, to abandon the idea of doing "preparatory studies" and whatnot, to just go and be and do.