Monday, March 21, 2011

Landscape Paintings as Found Poems

You English majors out there (I was one) are probably aware of what a "found" poem is.  It's a poem made out of phrases from usually non-poetical sources that have been rearranged or edited into free verse.  For some amusing examples, visit this link to read some poems made out of news conferences given by the former US Secretary of State, Donald Rumsfeld.  More serious examples can be found in the book, Mornings Like This: Found Poems, by serious writer Annie Dillard.

In some ways, every landscape painting might be considered a found poem.  We painters, like the poet who makes found poems, pick and choose what goes into a painting.  We leave things out.  We move things around.  We add things, many of which would look quite prosaic in their ordinary settings.  If you've ever painted a studio piece from plein air sketches and photos, you probably did some of this.   Like the author of a found poem, you worked to create a pattern pleasing to behold.

Here are two views of Courthouse Butte, and they are very different, partly because they were painted from different locations.  But in each of them, I minimized the foreground to emphasize the butte.  In the one with more obvious dead snags, I didn't paint the snags literally.  In fact, I didn't use the snags in front of me at all.  I chose instead to use some that were nearby but out of my viewfinder frame - these are my "found poem" elements.  (These sketches are available for $60 each plus shipping.  Contact me if you would like one or both.)


Courthouse Butte Sketch (#750) 9x12, oil


Courthouse Butte Sketch 2 (#748) 8x10, oil

1 comment:

Happy Little Trees Studio said...

Beautifully said!