Thursday, August 15, 2013

RAGBRAI Roadside Painting

One of the most interesting things about making this painting on my first day of RAGBRAI riding was the context. The context is a bit lost in this painting, for though I've made an effort at depicting the beautiful hills of eastern Iowa, some of the liveliness of the experience is lost in this painting. While perhaps you can perceive that this painting was made at the crest of a hill, looking back upon the landscape's undulation, you likely don't perceive that I sat perched on a grassy section along the side of the road with hundreds of people milling about around me. An impromptu beer garden was all around, my friends were enjoying a mid-afternoon beer and I had challenged myself to complete a painting in the time it would take for them to have one drink. Being the only person making a painting in a sea of weary bikers led to a lot of questions about what and why I was painting, inquiries about whether painting is my profession, and suggestions about what to include in the composition. 

In making a quick sketch painting I tend to take broad artistic license, simplifying the scene to include that which I can quickly depict and that which will remain static enough for me to depict it. This leads to a new challenge, learning to better capture the action of those moments, quickly, and with flexibility in a ever changing scene. That is, to me, is one of the pleasures of the regular creative practice: one can, at once, feel the satisfaction of improving ability and also the challenge of how to paint/draw/write/{insert your creative pursuit} in a ever more expressive way.
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