Lucinda Parker – Artist Statement
Broadway Tower Painting Commission, 2018
God Hood, acrylic on canvas, 6 x 14 feet
This is my newest version of Mt. Hood as seen from the North. A painter friend once said to me “Why paint the mountain? You just end up with two left-over triangles on either side that you have to figure out what to do with.” Exactly right: in the middle is a splayed out triangle laying on its stomach. I take apart all the inner shapes to get proportions and relative weight as best I can. I look for long swooping diagonals, rough divisions, overlaps, crosswise contours, the darks and brights; it’s a juggling act with wet paint that dries overnight and confronts me each morning with rhythmic juxtapositions, more choices than you can shake a stick at. Then, into those leftover triangles, upper right and upper left, I lay down a bold cloud and a bright sky, a foil for all this piebald action.
Wherever we can see Mt. Hood we feel ownership. At one point in the late 1800s, there were four Mt. Hood Post Offices in Oregon Territory. No wonder letters got lost. We see the West side from Portland, more symmetrical, lording it over the city. The South side is a wide-open fan of pyroclastic debris from old eruptions. The East face has hanging glaciers with steady avalanches paying off the snowfields below. The North side is colder and steeper, shadowed in winter while bathing the Hood River orchards with precious ice-melt from thousand-year-old glaciers in summer. Much of Hood is rubble. In fifty years, it might be unclimbable. Hard basalt forms in ridges to either side of its glaciers. Here is Cooper Spur, here is Eliot Glacier, Langille Crags, Snow Dome, Pulpit Rock, Upper Coe Glacier, and Barrett Spur. In late August, large irregular melt patches spread out, and like a calico cat, it can be hard to see the form. Yet, in winter it becomes shockingly white, so bright it flattens out. Best in the morning when light rakes across its fractured flanks. I keep trying to get it right
Ancient Dance, acrylic on canvas, 6 x 12 feet
The exposed columnar basalt we see in the Columbia Gorge enthralls me, especially the tilt and curve of the polygonal rocks. It’s hard to imagine, but geologists say these bundles of three-dimensional faceted sculptural elements cooled very, very slowly from hot molten lava.
In the wet western gorge, these cliffs grow moss and ferns and baby trees. Further east, lichens prevail, allowing a better view of the total escarpment, so hauntingly cubistic. To paint these rocks, you need orchestrated grays. I like to mix all my different red pigments one at a time with various greens to see how the neutrals evolve. I fool with complimentary combos, add Titanium White, Titan Buff, plus Mars Black, Paynes Grey, Burnt Umber and a few blues...just about everything. In this painting, our vantage point is below the rim-rock, looking up into the secret undersides of big slabs of basalt. I make a slurry of fat paint and thin watery blotches to build sloppy folded planes in search of volume. Columnar basalt breaks off in winter when wet crevasses freeze and expand, dropping lovely square blocks of scree below. Tilt your head and imagine this painting as a vertical with the clouds on top, just for fun.
Together on the lobby wall of the Broadway Tower, visible from the sidewalk and street outside, I hope these two very different paintings will bounce our eye back and forth like a top-notch rivalry.
-Lucinda Parker, October 6, 2018