In music, there are two terms called consonance and dissonance. Consonance could be considered the pleasing sounds, dissonance could be the dis-pleasing sounds. In a minimalist work of music, one might hear the tranquil and steady current of sound mingling agreeably in the soundscape. At certain intervals a sharper distinguished sound may swell and recede, as if fleeting across from one place to the next and then it’s gone.
Imagine the sounds of seagulls and ocean waves roaring to the cliffsides. The background noise is there and yet it is as if we don’t hear it, and we cherish the so called silence. Once in a while, a distant bell or a soft distant horn is heard and we are reminded of the silence, tuning in again to the steadiness of the background sounds of gulls and waves, until we don’t notice, and then, until we do again.
The Mendocino Coast in Northern California is a sanctuary for these type of meditative spaces and environments, one of them is the Pt. Cabrillo Lighthouse just south of Fort Bragg. As part of MOPO 2018 hosted by the Mendocino Art Center, a group of us artists went there to spend about half a day, capturing this historical structure. Walking across and through the tall weeds and grass, looking for the pleasing angle and distance to find the “right spot” to paint was very tactile and real. The smells and sounds of the ocean, the wind it generated across my face, the nearness of the crashing waves just a few feet from the unprotected cliffside was a moment in Earthly Heaven.
At about 39 degrees north latitude, the sun creates that “perfect light” that I love as the Fall season comes close. The light is stark but the shadows are soft. Again, another inherent dichotomy where one condition supports the other in a natural balance. It invites contemplation, and sets a philosophical mood. At first sight, I immediately had the picture in my mind before the painting began. The light house off to one side, far enough away to show the vast space around it. The neutrality of tone, the buttery walls, the light within the shadows. I wanted, somehow, to paint the sound and the air.
Note: Inquiries for purchasing this painting can be made to the Mendocino Art Center Gallery at (707)-937-1764 ext. 14