After finishing a painting (shown above) recently, I was struck by a question that one of my students posed. She asked why I had selected the photograph that I had chosen to use as a resource. I was a little taken aback. I remembered the feeling that I had when I took the photograph, and mistakenly thought that others would experience the impressions that I had on that day when I snapped the shot. I was with my family on vacation in California. We were traveling on Route 101, an eye-popping area of the country. Although views of the Pacific Ocean were magnificent, I became fascinated looking at the vegetation growing along the roadside. Sadly, there was no safe area in which to pull over, and I had given up getting any images of the scenery as I watched everything speed past me in a blur. Suddenly, we ground to a halt as a result of a mud slide. While waiting to be able to pass on what was now a one-way road, I opened the window and let the camera do its work. Below is the photograph from the experience. As you can see, I don't copy a photograph verbatim. I realize now when looking at the photograph, my student couldn't possibly read my mind. For that, I needed to put pastel to surface, and express the magic of that hillside as best I could. Looking at the photograph again, I may have to make another painting of the same scene. This wasn't the first time I had been inspired by the same photograph. Included here is also the first painting that I made of the scene.
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