Newberry, Seagull at Picnic Island, 2020, oil on panel, 12×16″

Just signed, 2nd in my Animal Lifted Embargo Series

Newberry, Seagull at Picnic Island, 2020, oil on panel, 12x16"
Newberry, Seagull at Picnic Island, 2020, oil on panel, 12×16″

hahah, I am enjoying the animal lifted embargo. I can’t stand painting little people in landscapes, makes my skin crawl when I see other painters do it. I love plein air painting being outdoors in a beautiful place just painting what I see, it feels like channeling the universe’s energy. But all landscapes have abundant life seen and unseen. For instance, while painting this there was behind me a pelican ferociously nose-diving into the water to pinch fish. Its only this last week I lifted the embargo on painting animals–I kept thinking of those horrible paintings of animals dressed as humans playing billiards or smoking cigars around the poker table. Can you imagine the psychology of the person that sees themselves that way? “Don’t mind me I am just a pug dressed as a human.”

There is an exciting tension in placing an animal just right, it seems to set off the landscape and definitely twerks the composition, like a zigzag incorporating the direction of the light, the bird’s flight path, the feeling of “lift,” setting off the formal composition of the water and land masses. Delightfully fun.

Michael Newberry, Idyllwild, 3/5/2020

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