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Images from Nature and the Unconscious

Nature 7 the Unconscious Shoenfeld

This past Sunday I taught a workshop called "Taking the Inside Outside - Creating Images from Nature and the Unconscious." We began inside with a few expressive art activities designed to get people loosened up so that when we went outside, we would see nature, not only with our eyes, but with our whole selves.

The image that is featured on today's blog comes out of a personal experience where I had expectations for how "nature" should look. I had travelled to Lubec, Maine which is the eastern most point in the United States. Donald and I had rented a cottage with an "ocean view." I had spent time in Lubec a few years prior and was ready to work "en plain air." I had already done a large body of work based on the curve of the earth where the stretched horizon and the ocean meet. This time my ocean view was a small segment of tidal waters framed by beautiful trees. I sketched everyday, looking at the portion of water allotted me (when you live in the Southwest, you become needy regarding large bodies of water). The tides in Lubec are extreme, so the land would disappear at high tide and reemerge when the tide went out. I felt there was some secret hidden there, a secret that was hidden behind the trees, a meaning waiting to be revealed through the hour glass view of water which I had been given.

When I came back to Santa Fe and began work in my studio.  I had photos, sketches, my imagination and my unconscious. I painted a viridian green layer of acrylic on my sanded pastel paper and then jumped into the tidal waters. The hour glass openings doubled so I had two views, not one. I had already spent a lot of time looking and making small sketches. When I began this larger studio piece, I preselected my palette using a set of relationships from the color wheel. With my colors chosen and a familiarity with the composition. I did not need to think at all . . . I love being in the ocean of the unconscious. My chunky Diane Townsend Terrage Pastels were perfect and the mark making took over. When I look at this piece (a slice of which you see here) I find that within the trees, secret creatures emerge.

This piece has been selected for the 2013 edition of the American Art Collector. Publication date is October 15.



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