Looking Back

Brian Bailey, Rock Creek, Oil on Canvas, 9" x 12" © 2016

Brian Bailey, Rock Creek, Oil on Canvas, 9″ x 12″ © 2016

I visited my parents in Montana about a month ago and spent some time trying to sort through the boxes and bins of things that I’ve been intending to take with me over the last 10 years or so.  I came across this painting of Rock Creek near Red Lodge, Montana that I believe I started painting in 1998.  My uncle, Jim Poulson, took me on a painting trip to help me figure out how to use my newly acquired easel and oil paints.  Jim is an amazing landscape artist and definitely one of my biggest art influences. I remember him helping me figure out the composition and how to start with shades of red under the trees to give them life and keep the green from becoming too dominant.  It’s amazing how early lessons in life can come back to you and have renewed meaning.

When I found the painting, it was mostly as you see it above. But, the lower-left corner, in front of the tree, was a flat patch of permanent green that had been scraped off and left unfinished, until now. I spent some time over the course of an afternoon in my studio to finally finish Rock Creek. It’s amazing to me how connected I feel to this painting. It was from a time before I knew many of the conventions of art and composition but it feels like a very honest representation of what I really know about painting. Jim was a great teacher and I’m glad to have found this, to remind me of our painting trip. Maybe I’ll get the rest of my stuff from my parents house next time…

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