Foggy Morning—Olympic Coast

April 2023

Brian Mahieu

Foggy Morning—Olympic Coast
Olympic Coast series, number twelve
Oil on canvas
48 X 48 X 1.5 inches

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Foggy Morning—Olympic Coast

It is significant to me that the first painting and the twelfth in my Olympic Coast Series is of this view. This painting is my memory of the first time I scaled a one hundred foot bluff on a heavy rope “ladder” (which is really just a single knotted rope.) At this spot, overlooking Strawberry Bay, there is a waterfall forming a plume over the sea cliff and this expansive view of the ocean and Third Beach dissolving into the distance. In this piece I wanted to make a grey painting that was not grey. To show the viewers how I experience “grey” as the presence of every color, like the iridescence of mother of pearl, not the absence of color.

I love this painting—the soft, Impressionistic colors and the palpable mist, the descending marine layer, the alchemical conjuring of the scents and sounds of that moment. Of all the paintings in this exhibit this one feels like me—my artistic sensibilities, my emotional being, my way of being in nature. For my entire life I have loved fog: its weightlessness, soft quiet and the sense of mystery and timelessness it gives a landscape. This palette of color is so soothing to me. It is a Tonalist palette, with every color in the painting being tinted with lilac the color of the initial layer or imprimatura. The colors are very subtle and very, very complex. The colors in the ocean: celadon, jade, the blue-grey-green notes found in lichens and stones are so classically PNW and evocative of this quintessential north coastal morning.

Hike: August 2022, Painting April 2023

Close-ups Showing Detail and Texture

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