"Using Middle America as her muse, Kowch draws the history of a particular place -- invariably rural -- to the surface as it collides with a new reality in layers of metaphor and moodiness. The faces of her women may remind you of characters in a Tim Burton film."
--Steve Parks, Newsday

Friday, October 3, 2008

Time spent in a rural paradise. . .

Last week, friend and fellow painter Kaylen Conley and I spent a whole day catching up, painting en plein air and driving back roads seeking inspiration in Mother Nature. By now it's probably common sense that I frequent the countryside. But not until spending a day on and around Kaylen's farm was I able to thoroughly experience the beauty and solitude of life out in the country. Soft, rolling fields, the call of crows in the distance mingled with the quiet hush of insects in the tall, sweet-smelling grass, the warm sun on my back . . . everything that surrounded me was real, pure, and unmoved . . . and, as expected, it moved me, and confirmed all the thoughts and feelings I associate with it. The most touching moment for me was captured in the shot I took above, where we had to stop the car for the swarms of blackbirds engulfing every direction. It was as if I had stepped into Blackbirds Are Gathering. The weather on that warm autumn day was unmatched, and I was able to capture lots of new reference that will find its way into a couple of new paintings that I currently have in the works.

The above photo was where I sat and painted this quick pen and watercolor study:

And the scene also found its way into my latest sample of children's book work: