There is something unique about the fall atmosphere that I’ve been drawn to dating back to my childhood. I’m certain that the cool, crisp autumn air and the brilliant canopy of colored leaves play a significant part of this. There is also something magical about being in Wisconsin during autumn. As a child, my family would travel to Wisconsin, often times to Eau Claire, where we would soak up God’s beautiful palette of colors. The best thing about it was that I actually felt transformed and still do today when I make that journey. The opportunity to get away from the repetitive day-to-day activities and the stress that can bring is a welcome breath of fresh air, quite literally.
As I began painting Resting Place, I tried to recall the feelings I had while I was on location in Eau Claire. While I worked on the pastel painting in my studio from photographs I shot on location, it was important to use my memory to capture all the subtleties of color and range of value that drew me in to begin with. Capturing atmosphere can be a challenge for an artist and is certainly something that photographs don’t convey well.
For the viewer, Resting Place is intended to help one take a break and relax; it’s a time to observe, slow things down and to reflect upon what you have. For me, it’s a celebration of life and the journey we all take. Being an advocate for nature, I try to appreciate moments like this and creating a painting was a way to document my experience and to share it with others.
This particular location was a bit daunting to paint because there was so much to take in visually. Along this stretch of the Chippewa River on the campus of UW-Eau Claire lies Little Niagara Creek which spills into the river. The river itself is wide at this point but very shallow with small rocks clearly visible under the water. The rocks cause a beautiful harmonic dance of small waves that create an interesting pattern that stretches across the entire span of water. You could probably walk across it without even getting your knees wet; that is if you don’t mind walking on rocks.