Water reveals more about the entire view and it has so many different moods, from calm, mirror reflections to a raging destructive force and with everything in between.
Sitting beside water helps calm my insides, that is when it’s not part of a raging storm. Most of the time when we encounter water, it is in one of its calmer states. Often water is a mixture of states of being. Sometimes the mirror reflection is disturbed by a slight breeze or by a jumping fish after a meal or a frog entering the water or even the subtle marks of the water spider as it runs across the surface. The mirror becomes a mixture of different and distinct surfaces.
As a child, I escaped from the downtown city streets to over the hill and through the woods to a creek that poured into the Allegheny River about 20 miles above Pittsburgh. They had their steel mills, we had Alcoa, the largest aluminum plant at that time. I spent a lot of time on this creek and in the river. It helped me keep my sanity while being trapped in the downtown city of New Kensington. The contrast between the city and the country was remarkable. I learned from each.
I have painted everything from puddles to water running down a roadside just after the rain. I have sat down and also painted the Atlantic Ocean from Florida to Maine but mainly in the northeast. Most of these I captured in photos so I could remember the details and later turn some of them into large paintings.
I love to paint by water as much as I can because it helps me heal from the inside out and vice versa. It has almost taken my life several times but for some reason kept on spitting me up on shore again. Well, it’s a lot more than that but this is not the time for such details. Right now I live in the area between the creeks, Deer Creek and Darby Creek which was deemed as sacred land even before the white man came. This sacred land designation has made me feel even more attached to this area. I have canoed down both of these creeks. At times I felt that I was drifting through time. Both are a beautiful experience I recommend highly.
As you can see, I have had a close attachment to water all my life so I paint in all of its many moods. I paint sky and water a lot, then I reveal the specialness of the shores of the creeks and the banks that water has helped form. After the sky and water, I focus on the land. This is where my evolution of a landscape scene materializes.
Harry Croghan is an artist, photographer, writer and teacher. He can be reached at 740-852-4906 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.