Tag Archives: winter landscapes

Technical Insights from “Not Far from Home” #21

Should I, Shouldn’t I…

I remember the day like it was yesterday.  The notion of standing in a snow bank for several hours on this cold, dark, damp winter afternoon surely didn’t sound appealing and the temptation to return home to the fireplace and some tea was calling loudly.  The yawns were growing closer and closer as I meandered down the back roads of home and all I could hear in my head was the recording  “Should I just call it quits for the day?”,   “Do I allow  the self-rationalizing  to reign and talk myself into how I couldn’t possibly be lazy by succumbing to comfort rather than work?”   I am glad that on this occasion I did not.

Farm on Beaver Dam Road  18 x 30   (page 92 and 93 with detail  in “Not Far from Home”)

The awakening began as I opened the car door and saw the colors true, not through the subtle green tint of the windshield.  The colors, though in great reserve, still called out before me…the warm greens of the shadows in the snow gave way to a violet cast as the brightness of the foreground bled toward me.  The shift from red to green on the face of the barn boards was exquisite. The humidity accentuated the variety in edges as the snow covered roofs stood in stark to the wisps of branches in front of them.  All of this I would have missed had I stayed in the car.

What is my point in all of this?  Every day, every condition, has something to offer despite my feelings.  What a gift.

Some twenty-five years ago as I was about to embark into this world of painting, a dear friend and co-worker of mine from the illustration days, Kenn Backhaus, gifted me with a little gold plaque that was mounted on my French easel for years.  It now proudly hangs in my studio.  The quote inscribed was by the great American Impressionist, Walter Elmer Schofield, “Rain, falling snow, wind…All these things to contend with, only make the open air painter love the fight.” (I might add bugs, too!)

book cover new web

“Not Far from Home” Testimonial  from Glenn Terry

“Got Daniel Gerhartz ‘s book of paintings, “Not Far From Home” yesterday. It is a fantastic book, full of tremendous beauty in the paintings, close up details, and even a step by step process in the back. The book itself is well made, worth the cost and then some, and can’t help but to inspire artists at any level, seeing the works of a master painter with such a fresh and vigorous style, full of heart and love of life.”

Thanks for all of your encouragement folks!

Technical Insights from “Not Far from Home” #7

This is the seventh  installment from the series of posts that will describe my thoughts and  technical insights from selected works included in our newly released book, “Not Far from Home”….Enjoy!

Inspiration and obedience…

Have you ever had the feeling that you needed to be painting a subject more grandiose than what lay presently before you in its simple, sensitive beauty.  I need to confess that I have and am amazed at my thick-headedness as I have ignored the profound, staggering elegance of the subject right before my eyes in hopes to find something “more important”.

I have found this hubris humbling as I have tried to deny the inspiration that has been given, picking and choosing, trying to squelch the “insignificant” ones to find a more profound “storyline”.  In the temptation to “tell a lofty story” in the literal sense with the subject, I have overlooked the grander message that the simple beauty is conveying.

The “Visit”, as Canadian composer Loreena McKennitt refers to the inspiration, should not be ignored.  I truly believe that it was given for a clear purpose and that my best works were completed when I have followed the initial spark.

I do not say this to advocate a lazy approach in looking for a subject that moves us deeply or to shirk the responsibility of developing more complex compositions, but too often I have let the temptation to paint something “profound and important” block the true inspiration God has given in the twist of a branch or the ever so subtle shift from red to green in the face of the model.

Certainly we should continue to strive toward greater heights as we develop our artistic abilities in whatever direction that leads us, but I for one, need to “obey”, for lack of a better word, and proceed as directed.  My greatest joy in painting has followed when I have.

In my opinion, no profounder message could have been told than that of which these cedar trees expressed.

My job was to absorb the beauty, convey the message and rejoice…

book cover new web

Not Far from Home” 


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