I worked on this painting for more than six weeks, thinking several times that I was done and moving on to other images, only to find myself turning back to this one, adding more layers, pushing the colors and surfaces again and again to try to capture an elusive idea.
I've done large canvases like these from time to time for the last ten years, not really knowing where their strangely heightened colors come from, and never knowing as I'm working on them exactly where they're going. They are perhaps my favorites among my own paintings, but they take the longest and are the most frustrating, the hardest paintings for me to do, as what I'm after is a half-understood mystery to me, at best.
A few weeks ago, trying to respond to a request from Anchorage Daily News Arts Editor Mark Baechtel for some thoughts on the New Year, I realized for the first time that these paintings almost always come in the dark of winter, when I am longing for the return of light. I think that part, at least, of what they are about is my feeling that the land must feel the same way, that it dreams in its winter slumber weirdly, imperfectly, but fiercely, about the remembered and coming light of summer.