Arriving Home After My American Journey

Newberry, Saunders Meadow in Idyllwild, pastel

Newberry, pastel of Saunders Meadow in Idyllwild

Late in 2017 I had a show at the White Cloud Gallery in Washington, D.C. The experience was bracketed by driving the works across the US to the show and then on the way back I drew pastel landscapes. This one was after I arrived home in Idyllwild — a comforting feeling of completing an epic art journey.

Light and color don’t easily go together, pure color flattens the forms and pure light tends to go monochromatic; the more you add light the more it cuts the color’s power. It helps having a Rembrandt set of 200 colors, to find the right nuances. There is something about working from life that is irreplaceable — you see things, colors and tones that you would not make up in your studio or in your imagination. It always puzzled me that lots of artists want to work completely from their minds, when life shows us so much more beauty and nuance –like a woman’s little toe, you can imagine it, but when you see its shape in real life, something magical happens.

I have thought about using this as a color study for something, but doing it was a complete moment of satisfaction, an end in itself. So I will let that go.

Michael Newberry, Idyllwild, 9/14/2020

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