“Truth be told, I do not paint outside in the winter. I tried it once, thinking that if Greg McHuron could do it, so could I.” ~ Lee Carlman Riddell
Greg McHuron, you have no idea the shoes you’ve left to fill. How can we channel your inner snow beast and brave this snarling, ice-jamming winter? There is just one Gregory I. McHuron, and that’s you, dear friend. We miss you, and we are eternally grateful to Susan H. McGarry, who saw the publication of your book through.
Lee Carlman Riddell joyfully participates in countless plein air events in during warmer months. In the winter time she’s a studio girl. Carlman’s work is on constant exhibit at WRJ Associates (as is her husband’s, photographer Edward Riddell) in downtown Jackson, and her gentle paintings, so elegant in their simplicity and color palette, are immediately identifiable.
WRJ not only understands Riddell’s work; they treasure it. Step through their doors on King Street and her paintings, hung throughout the space, beckon like jewels. Softened jewels~~~colors that understand time and nature’s effects.
“Whenever she ventures outdoors, she sees something new, particularly on routes she knows well; a stand of cottonwoods, passed countless times before, suddenly appears as if plucked from Monet’s Rouen Cathedral paintings,” writes the design group. “Her paintings thus bear witness to her distinctly wide vision, her rare instinct for finding ephemeral beauty.”
As for winter…..after valiant efforts, Riddell prefers the warmth of studio work.
“After finding a suitable spot I set up my tripod and palette, put my paint box on a snowpack only to see it slide into the road,” recalls Riddell. “I had pre-squeezed paint on the palette, but even with a palette knife the paint was so cold and stiff it was hard to mix and use. I did make an 8×10 oil of Rendezvous Peak, very simple shapes and flat colors, taking about 15 minutes before packing it all away and going back home, all the while reasoning that Greg had more body mass than I and could stay warm much longer, cursing him a little bit, too.”
Riddell often walks Tosca, her dog, along the river and sees what she can see. Having an iPhone to take snapshots is handy, and she takes photos for reference. She then paints in studio, working from the memory and feel of being out by the river. For her, adds WRJ, “painting is about being present in nature, about isolating [a single] element stirring her emotion.
“I’m trying to push myself toward celebrating one thing in each painting,” she says. “Even my titles speak to the weather.”
Like butter! That’s what I think when viewing Lee’s thick, painterly work.
“Nature is a great equalizer, modulator, consolation, and teacher. You can’t see a New Mexican sunrise or be lost in fog in Maine and emerge the same. Nature changes us. It isn’t always pleasant; sometimes its harrowing and even terrifying. But it’s always true, always there, always utterly as it is. And, in some form, it’s always available to us all,” says Lee.
Consider me warmed.
“His paintings are rhythmic, textural responses to the Western landscape in its many forms,” writes the gallery. “From untrammeled wild lands to urban machinery to iconic chapels, Jivan paints on-location from direct observation, attempting to relay the unique sentiment of each moment and place that inspires his work.” www.altamiraart.com