Friday, August 14, 2009

North Pole/South Pole
12 x 26 x 2
oil, wax, silver leaf, ice pick

I've always been fascinated with paintings that depict arctic landscapes. There's just something about the vast, frozen, and unattainable part of our planet that stirs an sense of adventure in me. Ice can capture and harness the most beautiful colors of light, especially at times of light transition or "the magic hour" of the setting sun.

Frederic Church was one of America's premier painters and his paintings of icebergs are a true inspiration for me. In 1859, Church chartered the schooner The Integrity for about a month and sailed off the coast of Newfoundland in search of these floating mountains. Despite severe seasickness, he managed to sketch and paint daily, capturing the magnificence of these icy beasts. At times, he would take The Integrity's dingy and row up beside these bergs, risking all on those tumultuous waters just for a quick sketch.

The Icebergs, 1861

The Iceberg, 1875

I just love how the setting sun rakes a band of orange across the peak of this iceberg. This is why Frederic Church is such an American treasure.

My painting at the top depicts a landscape at the other end of the world, Antarctica. It is a dream of mine to visit Antarctica to do a little chilly plein air painting. That would really be something.


  1. Wow what a painting!! Which one? says Denny. Why yours of course, says April J. Actually Frederic Church's sunlight on the top of that iceberg is pretty breathtaking. Melts away all the days stresses seeing that. Thanks for posting it up!

  2. Thanks, April J., I always enjoy your comments!

  3. That is a beautiful painting.

    I head that Edward Seago traveled to the seas around Antarctica to paint, but I haven't seen any of those paintings.

  4. Jeremy, thanks, I'll have to look into Seago's work.

  5. very interesting, Denny. I am familiar with Church's work. It is really great stuff. I love the light he obtained.

  6. You're right, Gary, you really can't beat his rendition of light.

  7. I've enjoyed your work, the comosition is original....