New Approach to Landscapes

My patron, Robert Parsons, suggested I look at the work of Leo Garel. I was already looking at Dasburg and Diebenkorn, so it wasn’t a big stretch to consider Garel’s work, although there isn’t a lot of it on the internet, it appears.

I got the general idea from the few pieces I could see, and when we have taken them into context with contemporary landscape painters like Alyce Frank, etc., and I did something I hadn’t done before, and that is, decide to begin a painting very late at night. I stood at the easel and painted over a canvas that Rick brought home from a local artist’s garage sale of canvases that could be re-used, so this was at least the third time around for this surface.

For some reason, either I was just tired enough to feel inspired, or just open enough to pick up on subtle energies, but the landscape I ended up with is one of my favorite paintings to date.

"A Field in El Prado," oil on canvas by Melwell, 16x20
“A Field in El Prado,” oil on canvas by Melwell, 16×20

“A Field in El Prado,” oil on canvas by Melwell, 16×20, was done in about 20 minutes. It felt inspired. I only wish all my subsequent paintings were as successful as this one.

Breakthroughs don’t happen often, but when they do, they make little ripples throughout the work. I may have to sacrifice even more older surfaces and bring them into this new way of seeing and executing color and shape.

I did a second one the next day, trying to capture the same spontaneity as the first one, as just as expected, it wasn’t as successful, but I decided not to scrape it off and start over. I liked it “just enough” to keep it for a while.

"Sleepy Mountain Town," oil on canvas by Melwell, 16x20
“Sleepy Mountain Town,” oil on canvas by Melwell, 16×20

“Sleepy Mountain Town,” oil on canvas by Melwell, 16×20, is the second in the series. I have taken a slight break now from painting in order to let a lot of these new principles to sink in. I want to make each surface count. These chunky paintings use up a lot of paint.