These structural abstract paintings explore the layering of mountain landscapes. They include the startling variations of a color from full sunlight, glancing or raking light to full shadow. Behind the massif and summit, is the color complexity of the atmosphere: rays of sunlight and dark storms.
The Boston area has a gentle landscape with low hills. In New Hampshire and Vermont, there are modest mountains. In the Rocky Mountains, the peaks are higher and the valleys steeper. My attractions to this scenery are the expansiveness and the many layers of color. Shades of white and gray hover above vistas of dark green, shimmering yellows and translucent pale greens. On many occasions, the seasonal colorations captured my attention.
Views are framed. Tall fir trees open to valleys of dense forest. Beyond, are distant violet summits. The meadows of russet grass merge into confier forests. The valleys are steep sided, often with a stream at the base. The colors of the slopes include the yellow green of sagebrush, the bright yellow of aspens and the dark green of juniper. These steep sides block much sky view.
In early summer, grazing fields are clover green and edged by red barked Ponderose pines. In the distance, snow streaked peaks stand separated from other mountains. In the middle ground is a range blackened from an extinguished lightening strike fire.
I made a cardboard model to study the layering of the massif's vertical topography. Colors were assigned to show the height variations of the composition. Low elevations were yellow-orange and orange. Middle elevations were red-orange and red. High elevations were blue, green and violet. The paintings are structured abstractions of summits and massifs.
Malcolm Montague Davis