This is my 16″ x 20″ master study of George Inness’s “Catskill Mountains.” I also did a time-lapse video, if you’re interested in seeing it come together. But first, please indulge me in a little story about why I painted this for my second paintaversary.
Two years ago today, I took a swing at painting along with Bob Ross’s “Portrait of Winter,” my first attempt at a painting since grade school art class. It turned out better than I would have imagined, though obviously there was plenty of room for improvement. The paint didn’t break right on the mountains, and the cloud was a bit of an amorphous blob, but the trees looked like trees, and the water glistened magically. I was hooked right away. I spent the next few weeks doing more Bob paintings and watching as many episodes as I could to learn techniques before branching out and devouring as many other artists’ youtube channels as I could.
My newfound interest in painting prompted me to visit the Art Institute of Chicago, where for the first time, I was looking at the paintings hanging there through the eyes of someone who aspired to create similar work. And when I came across Inness’s “Catskill Mountains,” I was gobsmacked. Looking at that painting, it’s almost as if it’s generating its own light. I remember wondering to myself if I’d ever be good enough to do something like that.
Whether or not I’m good enough is open to debate, but I was at least confident enough to attempt it, and it proved to be an amazing learning experience. On Saturday, I went back to the Art Institute and observed this painting once again before putting on the finishing touches. It was fun to see what I did right and what I did wrong, but more than anything, it was inspiring. I highly recommend getting out to the museums and studying the works on display there through your painter’s eyes.