Photo of Colleen Proppé taken by her 4 year old son, Aidan. 3/14/07
All painting is in some way an abstraction of reality; regardless of one's training and technique to capture a scene they are observing in nature, the result is never the same for any one person at any one time. Whether I paint plein air before the hills, or from a manipulated photo in my home studio, the result is never identical to that which I have derived it from. The act of painting is a moment in time event, every time. Before the canvas each new time, you surrender to the moment, knowing that it is a search and journey in itself; that each color, shape, stroke you lay down may lead to another one that you would not have made if you were at that same canvas the next day.
I honor the training I have had and know that with out my background in drawing and painting, I would not have the tools to create what I do. I have an absolute joy and love for composition, and will hesitate to paint a scene that I do not feel has a unique composition that draws the viewer into the depths of the painting. I have been contacted by cycling and landscape photographers who admire my work, and this is a compliment to me; that I may at times have a photographer's eye for composition.
I love the spontaneity of the situation in which you may only have one hour or two hours to capture what you are perceiving; I do not say "seeing" here, because I know that every individual given the same scene to paint will tend to focus on a different aspect of that landscape. One might pick up the golden glints on a cow in the forground, while another captures the immense and windswept loneliness of the scene, portraying all the mountains and huge sky. It is amazing to me that everyone who paints has their own unique style automatically; like a finger print... even with out trying to be different, we tend to create works that have our own mark.
I have been a resident of California for 15 years now, and of Marin for 12- most of my adult life. I have chosen to raise my twin boys here regardless of the cost of living because there is no place as magical, with access to open spaces that are diverse and grand. I like to tell people, "I have never had a bad day in West Marin; I always come back home feeling lighter in spirit and in a more peaceful state of mind". For this reason, I have wanted to give back to the land with my art, and will continue to donate a portion of my proceeds from landscape paintings to Malt or other non-profits that help preserve the land and the way of life in West Marin.- C.Proppé 2007
My fraternal twin boys, and my border collies in Inverness, March 2007