World renowned photographer Ansel Adams often commented that he visualized what his photographs should look like, so the image would reflect what he felt when he snapped the shutter.
It is in that spirit, Payson High School advanced art student Jose Fink composed his first landscape painting, “North Rim.”
The composition of the piece isn’t necessarily a realistic representation of the Grand Canyon. It reflects the feelings the canyon evoked during his time hiking.
Fink’s composition falls into the aesthetic theory of emotionalism, where an artist’s work conveys a meaning, feeling or idea.
Since Fink and I both enjoy hiking the canyon, the painting led to a conversation about our experiences.
Fink and I would often discuss the beauty of the canyon’s colors. How blue the sky is, and the feeling of anxiety when stealthy storm clouds roll in.
We talked about how we felt as we stood on the canyon’s edge just before taking that first step to descend into the interior, and the feelings that moment evoked: excitement, apprehension, appreciation and awe. Fink’s piece reflects those emotions.
Creating the piece took about a month of steady work in class. There was a lot of problem-solving and decision making that went into creating the piece. Fink worked hard on it, asked my advice, and wasn’t afraid of making a mistake.
Now when I view Fink’s painting, I’m reminded of a quote by Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In May 1805, on their way to the Pacific, Lewis noted in his journal, “As we passed on, it appeared that these scenes of visual enchantment would never have an end.”
Like Adams and Lewis, Fink will keep creating, and his continued exploration will influence his creativity.
He is already working on his next piece and is planning his next adventure.