Portraits of Places

The GlowMany of my works are landscapes, but if I analyze how and why I paint them, I could call them portraits.
My earliest attempts at art were always of people, figures and faces came most naturally. As years went by I explored other subjects, working extensively in watercolor, etching, serigraphy, then beginning my professional career working in monotype and oil painting. I have always been fascinated by weather and the shifts it makes in color, light and shadow,  As I continued to paint, I began to see similarities to figures in other forms, whether hills, water or sky.
These landscapes are real places. One of my favorite subjects is a large sweep of land on the western-facing slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains, a ranch has been tended by the same family for generations. I watch the seasons play over the contours of the great meadows, I see the shifts of light under the clouds in the rainy season. Each year I am astonished that earth so brown, so trampled, can in a matter of weeks begin to glow with an almost fluorescent green.
This land is maintained by people and maintains the people in return. On the border of one large meadow is a group of fifteen Ohlone grinding rocks telling us that this place has sustained other people as well.
When I look at these hills, they seem to meet my gaze. This is what I look for in a subject, and it is how I can tell that a painting is finished: it is finished when it looks back at me. I work on these paintings the same way I work on a portrait, building up layers, moving between a physical likeness and an essence I perceive, pushing colors, creating a “face”.
It is my hope that the viewer will feel the integrity of the land in these pictures, not only as pleasing to the eye, but also as a reminder that such places are precious: for us, for our fellow creatures, for the health of our planet.


2 thoughts on “Portraits of Places

  1. Hi Suchi, Thinking of you one day when looking for artists for a show in Davenport. Wish you were in our plein air show in April but if you can we would love to show something of yours sometime. Come up and see us/me at the gallery. An opening tomorrow 5-8. (wood is good) See Davenportgallery.org for details and contact if you are interested. How are you? Wish i had been able to rent your studio space way back then. Your images are magnificent, good work, Peace, Steve

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