Here in rural Oregon my belief in the importance of Nature to the human spirit is renewed and strengthened each day. In the foothills of the Coast Range, I am immersed in Oregon’s weather and seasons, in the ephemeral light and shadows. On frequent walks through pastures and wooded areas, abstract shapes and volumes of groves and fields draw me across the valley. I am conscious of creating a pathway into my paintings that can be followed to some horizon. The path is often broken or obscurred—as in life—but the way reveals itself.
I think of myself as a messenger depicting specific moments of time and mood. The twilight hours of dawn and dusk are exquisitely lonely and melancholy, yet full of peace and promise. I am interested in the dormant seasons, when life is quiet and preparing to renew itself. Fog is still and enveloping and seamless. There is a mysterious silence in snow, not experienced in any other weather. These are solitary and reflective times, about transition.
A few years ago I began a series of paintings of the Alvord Desert in Southeastern Oregon. I used to go there with my father and these images are a pilgrimage for me to a special place.
The surfaces of my work are relatively smooth. This is especially true in the skies, which are often seamless blends of hue and value. I believe strongly that because light reflection creates a sort of “jacquard” effect, surface texture distracts from the imagery and I take care to minimize it. Also for this reason, my paintings have little gloss and appear rather dry. I often use worn brushes, rags and other objects as erasers, removing paint as a drawing technique.
- Marilyn Higginson, 2015