“Hallowed Ground”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 16″
Year: 2019


William Wendt is widely considered one of the founding fathers of California Impressionism, a distinct school of impressionist art forged in the California landscape back in the early 1900’s. One of Wendt’s most iconic paintings is called What Nature’s God Hath Wrought and features a boldly centralized view of this very peak. Wade and I spent an afternoon scouting the countryside, climbing under fences, walking through high grass, fumbling our way around holding pictures of Wendt’s masterful painting up to the mountain before us, comparing views to determine roughly right where he stood and painted the scene from. We pretty much nailed it down one afternoon and decided to come back to paint it ourselves in the morning light. Too be honest, I wouldn’t have bothered if it wasn’t for Wade. The whole ocean thing. Hard to motivate. All that. But once we got going I was hooked. And also blown away all over again at Wendt’s masterful work. It’s just some rocks sticking out of the ground, but he gave them majesty. I kept thinking his composition with that mountain smack in the middle of the canvas just shouldn’t work, and yet it does. Neither Wade nor I were trying recreate Wendt’s painting- we didn’t even look at it once we had the spot figured out, our goal was just to stand where he stood and respond to the scene before us like we would with any other painting. I can’t speak for Wade, but I’m pretty sure neither of us felt like we had done half a lick of justice to the scene as the morning wound into afternoon and hunger took over. But still, we’d walked on hallowed ground.

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