Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Big sky, small paintings

"Distant Weather" is one of several small (5 x 7 inch) paintings I've created recently. The challenge is to convey the big sky of the high prairie I live in. Storms or unsettled, changing weather (like a cold front or a chinook rolling in) are what I find the most interesting, although I do paint "fair weather" skies too. I like to experience weather in "real time" and then paint the memory of it later in the studio.

"Black Butte Memories" is another 5 x 7 inch painting completed this week. Personally, I find this kind of painting more interesting than the one above ("Distant Weather"). Black Butte is a landmark northeast of Lewistown, MT. When portraying large land masses such as this, I "immerse" it in the even larger sky. Even though it's only a few miles away, Black Butte is not visible from my studio as it's mountain neighbors, the Judiths, rise to the immediate west/southwest of it. This painting is based in memories of pleasure drives taken along the gravel road that meanders around the butte's base. The general view is from north looking southward toward the butte (not the view most people in Lewistown are familiar with). It's not a literal recording of the butte but rather a collective sense of the butte as one would see it from changing angles as the road meanders.


  1. I refer to my sky as a "tall sky" That separates me from the people who call it Big Sky.

    Mary Jean Golden

  2. Now and then I too call it "tall sky"---usually when the painting is a large extreme verticle format and I paint just a sliver of land across the bottom. I should post my "Prairie High-rise" as that work is in the "tall sky" category.

  3. The top one, empty prairie empty sky IS Montana. My family is up there and I consider it home. Nothing like living under that. Do you sell these?

  4. Hello Martha,
    Thank you for posting comment. I agree to a degree, empty prairie and empty sky is Montana, though I would use the word "empty" with a symbolic rather than literal meaning. It is a great experience to be sometimes embraced and sometimes consumed by an all present sky and prairie. To answer your question, "Distant Weather" is sold and "Black Butte Memories" is still available.