Monday, August 22, 2011

Highway 5

"SUBARU"  24"x20  At first I painted all the landscape details, and then I painted them out, and then painted them in again.  I made the details more blurry, darker, lighter, and finally they were out again.  I didn’t want it to be too “landscapey”. I wanted it be more abstract and mostly convey the feeling of that blinding white light and vastness of the California Central Valley

I drive Highway 5 a lot, from San Francisco where I live, to Los Angeles where my mom, Mildred, lives.  For the first couple of years of living in San Francisco, I think I made the trip 4-6 times per year. Now it is down to about twice a year, but we are talking over 20 years. 

It’s a lot of trips, but I still get excited about it.  I love the landscape. Some parts are endless golden grass, other parts are fragrant orchards or bare branched trees, depending on the time of year.  I have made the drive in every season.  I like the light on open air and the feeling of freedom.  At one time I even fantasized about becoming a trucker, driving a big rig and looking out for “Smokies” (Highway Patrol Men giving out citations).  Another fantasy is to paint the rolling hills and the open road, however, the idea of rendering all that space in a painting is daunting. 
Last spring Makiko, my daughter, and I were driving back from Mildred’s house. I took some pictures of the white light and the converging highway lines and started my Highway 5 series.  We will see where it goes.  It is a stretch for me to paint large spaces combined with such minimalism.
"TANKER" 20"x24" I think it was hauling milk since there weren’t any hazard signs on it.  It looked super happy, pretty, and shiny, unlike the gasoline tankers that always freak me out with their hazard symbols all over them.  It was screaming to be in a painting. Question: Why does it seem like there are always tomatoes and stuff getting hauled up and down the same highway?  They pass each other going in opposite directions.  Why don’t the tomatoes guys just call each other?  I know…  I have spent too much time on that highway.

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