July 2007 - Vol. 10

Glacier, Sea, and Mountain

recent art work by Jamie Treadwell

John Muir Glacier - acrylic painting

In  July 2006 Jamie Treadwell toured the inner coastal regions of southeast Alaska on an expedition passenger ship, the Sea Lion. Beginning in Sitka and ending in Juneau, for 7 days the ship explored the inlets and sounds bordered by glacier-scoured peaks. At sea level temperate rain forests rise steeply up from the deep waters into massive ice fields above. The glaciers flow like massive rivers, moving up to 7 feet each day. During the trip Jamie took photographs, notes and sketches that have been used over the past year in London to capture the impressions of the magnificent landscape.
Artist Statement:
The Alaskan landscape is awe inspiring. Over the past year I have returned again and again to explore in my painting the fantastic majesty and dynamic nature of Alaska. As I began painting the series, I worked representationally, painting the landscape as I saw it. As the paintings developed, I left the representational behind, and sought a more direct expression of the ‘inner dynamics’ of the landscape. The play of light through mist on sharp edged mountains blurred through sheets of rain, dark mysterious ocean depths reflecting powerful volcanic mountains, the colour and textures of mountain sea and sky became my subject matter. The action of the painting itself became important, for example the use of powerful brushstrokes contrasting with subtle washes reflect the nature of the volcanic mountain and ocean weather. The final two painting of the series “Glacier, Sea, Mountain” and “Ice and Sea” are visual poems. Behind the painting “Ice and Sea” is the experience of watching a 200 foot wall of ice collapse into the sea. This painting focuses on a detail - the transparent blue glacial ice against the sea green of the ocean at the moment of impact. This detail captures a moment in the endless process of transformation as the glaciers crash into the sea. 

This series is a celebration of God’s creation. The power of nature, majesty, greatness, are all virtues from the Lord our God, reflected in his creation.

John Muir Glacier - sketch

John Muir Glacier Front - sketch

As Browning states it, the point of painting something is not to reproduce it exactly (which is impossible anyway), but rather to represent it in such a way that it enables others to see the reality of that which is represented for the first time. The pedantic mind may wonder why we should paint the apple when we already have the real apple here. Isn't the real apple more realistic? Why make another one, that is less realistic? But the point of a great painting is not that we have had a shortage of apples, but rather that we have not yet understood apples the way we ought. The painting of the apple is not to compete with the real apple in order to replace it, which would be silly, but rather to name it in such a way that I begin to see real apples differently.

The nature of the artist’s contribution in helping man ‘see’. 
      Art as Covenant Naming, by Douglas Wilson

John Hopkins Inlet - acrylic painting

Glacier, Sea, Mountain - acrylic painting
To An Alaskan Glacier
     by Charkes Keeler

Out of the cloud-world sweeps thy awful form,
Vast frozen river, fostered by the storm
Upon the drear peak's snow-encumbered crest,
Thy sides deep grinding in the mountain's breast
As down its slopes thou plowest to the sea
To leap into thy mother's arms, and be
There cradled into nothingness...

Forest Ridge - acrylic painting

Rain on the Ridge - acrylic painting
      by Charles A. Keeler

  Fiords of the far west shore, where peaks sublime
    Are cloudward thrust 'neath folds of glistening snow
    With hoar and frigid streams that tideward flow,
Sculpturing their cliffs and crags which mount and climb
Full in the sight of Heaven -- grim heirs of Time,
      Stern children of Eternity,that grow
      Austere and terrible 'mid storms that blow
  Their lusty trumpets in the tempest's prime.

  What joy is this to float upon thy tide,
  So blue, so beautiful -- to gently glid
      'Mid islets forested, past shores that stand,
      Dark Portals opening to enchantment's land,
  Where all is but a dream, soon, soon to be
  Lost in the purple mist of memory. 

[See also: Faith, Vision, and Art by Jamie Treadwell]
(c) copyright 2007  The Sword of the Spirit
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