Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Mount Lemmon Series

When I first arrived here in southern Arizona and began looking at the wildlife around me, I was struck by the layout of the landscape. Back in the Northeast, when I look into the wilderness, what I see is trees upon trees up on trees. The picture I see is like a symphony of flora as far as the eye can see. Here in the Sonoran desert, everything is farther apart. Rather than the rolling hills of Massachusetts, the mountains are rugged islands in a sea of sand and scrub brush.

What I really enjoy about the plants here (besides the fact that they are all pointy and want to kill you) is that they are spaced far apart like exhibits in a museum. As I hike along I'll see one mesquite tree standing out in the brush. Then a few steps farther a barrel cactus, then a small collection of cholla, and a ridge lined with Saguaros.

When I began the Mount Lemmon series, I wanted to capture this aesthetic, setting the subject of each painting against a simple abstracted background. Here are the first three of these paintings. They are very different from a lot of my other work. My aim is to show you how I see the Sonoran desert with my Northeastern eyes.