Simplicity Is Beautiful

 

I'm here in Sedona, Arizona, with a few members of my tribe. We are painting in this beautiful landscape. It's easy, so easy, to get overwhelmed by the complexity of the gorgeous landforms that surround us. To that end, I'd like to share with you my lecture from this morning's class. Simplify like the America Modernists, Arthur Dove and Marsden Hartley.

Arthur Dove (August 2, 1880 – November 23, 1946) grew up loving the outdoors. It's evident in his work. He simplified the complex landscape that he loved, and he did it masterfully.

Arthur Dove “Nature Symbolized” 1911

Arthur Dove “Nature Symbolized” 1911

Arthur Dove “Red Sun” 1935

Arthur Dove “Red Sun” 1935

 
Marsden Hartley Mt. Katahdin (Maine), Autumn -2 , 1939–40

Marsden Hartley Mt. Katahdin (Maine), Autumn -2, 1939–40

 

Marsden Hartley (January 4, 1877 – September 2, 1943) was another artist who simplified nature. He had a hardscrabble childhood but made it to Europe to study painting and hang out with the Gertrude Stein circle. Alfred Stieglitz introduced him to Cezanne, Picasso, and Matisse, who would be a significant influence on him.

Marsden Hartley “New Mexico Landscape” 1920

Marsden Hartley “New Mexico Landscape” 1920

The next time you’re faced with a complex image, or you are inspired by the vast and glorious landscape and feel overwhelmed by the sheer complexity before you, take a page from Marsden Hartley or Arthur Dove and simplify. Simplify. Because simplicity can be beautiful.

Tesia BlackburnComment