“…more precious, though, are the unpublished maps we make ourselves, of our city, our place, our daily world, our life; those maps of our private world…” (adapted from Alexander McCall Smith, Love Over Scotland)
This week’s blog is dedicated to the amazing artists whose works create Les Poissons Gallery. The gallery is an exploration of panoramas from Maine to Savannah and the Atlantic coastline to the Rocky Mountains. While our artists call the Mid-Atlantic home, they celebrate America in all her glory from sea to shining sea!
Plein Air art festivals have flourished in the past twenty years, prodding artists to capture the beauty in local communities nationwide. From Big Sur in California to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the rolling hills of Bath County, Virginia and even to the streets of Chestertown, paint-ins and art fairs acclaim our national landscape, through the lens of our backyards. Like the Blues in music and regionalism in literature, the landscape painting is truly an American genre. What makes this genre so American is the importance of place, in other words the “local color.” Think of Mark Twain as a visual artist. We look at a painting and feel it as we have been there….even if only in our dreams.
This sense of place is what makes one locale unique or different from another. The artist’s mastery of place invites us to care about the captured scene.
“Regular maps have few surprises: their contour lines reveal where the (mountains and lakes) are… More precious, though, are the unpublished maps we make ourselves, of our city, our place, our daily world, our life; those maps of our private world we use every day; here I was happy, in that place I left my coat behind after a party, that is where I met my love; I cried there once, I was heartsore; but felt better round ….things of that sort, our personal memories, that (make a landscape into a place of deep, personal meaning.) adapted from Alexander McCall Smith, Love Over Scotland
Wendall Berry stated, “if you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.” Thus, the landscape painting provides us the narrative and story for our lives.