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A Call to Artists - Perspectives No. 324

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A Call to Artists

Perspectives No. 324

Sunrise at Tailgate Ranch, Watercolor, © John Hulsey
Sunrise at Tailgate Ranch                       Watercolor                       © John Hulsey


   Those of us who love to paint the landscape are always engaged in a kind of preservation effort, whether we know it at the time or not. Wild landscapes are often under threat of development or natural disasters of one kind or another. Recently, some wonderful old lodges and vast acreages of trees burned in Glacier National Park. These were places we knew from our painting residency there—places we had stayed in, hiked in and painted. Gone now.

   Sometimes artists have been able to effect change directly through the art we create by painting places which we know are threatened by development or human disruption. By mounting and publicizing an exhibition of those paintings, we can bring attention to the importance of place and its impending loss. This can move hearts and minds to action to prevent this loss, as happened when Congress, influenced by paintings by artists such as George Catlin, Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt, established the National Parks.

   Over the years, we've seen swaths of the open land and small farms around us disappear into housing development. We look back at the paintings created when those places were still open, beautiful and accessible, and shake our heads. We've had buyers at exhibitions who didn't know the areas had once been so lovely. Progress, we guess.

   Now we’re faced with an even greater threat—a large-scale industrial food processing operation potentially moving close by, into our rural landscape. Their plan will forever change this beautiful area with a huge, polluting plant on land nearby. Land where we've often painted the changing seasons, the waving fields of hay followed by hay bales worthy of Monet, horses and cows drinking the sunrises and sunsets reflected in farm ponds. The company trying to locate here has a bad track record of environmental violations and we fear the worst for our clean air and water.

   As artists what can we do? We'll join the protests and contribute what we can to the fund-raising, but perhaps the most important thing we can do is to paint, to record the beauty of the land that will be lost. Paint the visual gift of the prairie. Drink in the smells and sounds and try to incorporate them into art that symbolizes what we stand to lose. Make a big show of it all. Perhaps people will notice and join in the opposition. By preserving the landscape in our art, we can only hope we might help to preserve it for real.

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Copyright Hulsey Trusty Designs, L.L.C. (except where noted). All rights reserved.
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A Primer on Night Painting - Nocturnes

Nocturnes - A Primer on Night Painting

Filled with inspirational examples by the masters of nightime painting, this little book is sure to fire up your creative energies. Never tried painting at night? We show you how it's done with a step-by-step-oil demo and a tale of night painting in the wilds of Rocky Mountain National Park. The Primer on Night Painting - Nocturnes is a 7 x 7" PDF download with 40 pages of text and images. It includes a gallery of paintings by masters of the nocturne, information to inspire and encourage you in your plein air nocturne painting, an illustrated step-by-step demo and tips for working in pastel and oil. Also available in a softcover edition. Check out the tools and other products that we use in our own art and travels in The Artist's Road Store. We only offer things for sale that we enthusiastically believe in.

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About Us

Photograph of John Hulsey and Ann Trusty in Glacier National Park
We are artists, authors and teachers with over 40 years of experience in painting the world's beautiful places. We created The Artist's Road in order to share our knowledge and experiences with you, and create a community of like-minded individuals.  You can learn more about us and see our original paintings by clicking on the links below.
About Ann
     About John
 Hulsey Trusty Studios

We are also regular contributors to the Plein Air blog at Artist Daily.

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