Mason Parker Watercolors will be featured in the Buckman Show and Sell 2021 but the show is virtual, therefore redundant.
Bedrock Beauty, Rivers Have Skeletons Too
I have little memory of my first visit to Windsor Jambs, except that climbing up through it and out the other side reminded me strongly of the description of Dante’s purgatory that I remembered in high school English class, even more than going to a similar place in Massachusetts that is actually called Purgatory Chasm.
The inking process seemed endless, even if I knew my small steps each day would eventually bring me to it like reaching the misty opening in the trees in the very top center of the view. But the closer I got the more I was bothered about with what to do about the early fall trickle of water in the gorge and being unable to find any photos online of what it looked like with a good flow, at least none taken from the river level view I chose.
Then, I had a dream about Krista, a fellow artist from my distant past. I thought about her later that day as I worked and remembered her painting she was working on at the time, in her typical very photorealistic style. It was a flat low tide beach scene showing all the pebbles exposed. At first I thought it was boring but realistic enough to even swear she used smelly seawater to wet her brushes, but after she finished it and showed it to me again a couple years later I remembered how I started to appreciate it more…Finally I thought to myself “Do my own paintings of water all HAVE to have lots of it in them to make good paintings?” I also remembered how I liked how a couple other dry season ones I’d done turned out, particularly “Class 6 Gorge at Mill Creek” that faced downstream, having been forced to focus on what I saw in the rocks.
Class 6 Gorge at Mil Creek, Dallas, OR, ink and pastels, 15″X22″, June 2016
Rivers have skeletons just like people do, and there is no shortage of those that have been painted beautifully. I was happy with my choice and didn’t have to guess any hydrology. For the little bit of water that was in the jambs, a medium sized shallow pool collecting under the tiny waterfall that was just big enough to be white, I used my bubbly method again that I used on The Montague Mill.
By the time I was nearly done with the inking I had found a new appreciation for the differences between small river gorges on the east coast and those on west coast that were due to the country’s bedrocks and geologic histories. All along this general latitude that ran through Massachusetts and New York are spots where the last Ice Age came to a halt and did strange things with huge boulders, grinding and pushing and piling and damming and scouring them with potholes like being in the way of God’s landfill equipment. Most of the Pacific Northwestern ones I have found either cut through columnar basalt and are straight and slot shaped, or they go through blocky and undercut conglomerate rock
The coloring process also seemed impossibly long but the upside was that there were not very many different pastel pencils I had to fuss around picking from, nearly all grays and earthy greens.
Windsor Jambs, Windsor MA, ink and pastels, 22″X30″, February 2021