Saturday, September 29, 2007

San Juan Island Painter - Dana Roberts

The Lost Sister - Oil on Linen
by Dana Roberts

"I particularly respond to fall and winter. The air infiltrated with water: fog, cool humidity, rain, snow. Boundaries become permeable. Sodden and brittle, red and grey. The huge sound of tiny tree frogs. The ground sloshing with water, the garden drowned.

I most directly physically interact with my place by gardening. My garden is humble and ignorant. I'm still touched when a perennial reappears, as though it likes me! But largely I do not nurture plants: I garden by motion and elimination. I hack and weed and rip out and clip and move rocks, shove dirt, dig, edit. I squat close to the dirt. I forget to look at the plants - I just want to be close to the dirt. Perhaps I am then open to the collective unconscious of the plants, the insects, birds, earth. I can absorb it, almost like something rising up from the ground.

My painting is fed in this indirect way - through absorption, immersion, the slow drip of familiarity. Scenery is for the eyes, and I do not exactly paint with my eyes, but rather on the border of sight and touch, the border of...At one point I decided that I did not like to scrutinize nature, looking for a pleasing aspect, a dramatic juxtaposition, a freeze frame. I felt I was using her; it was an uneasy relationship.

Now I assume that I absorb, that I can not help absorbing, that my place inhabits me as much as I inhabit it. I am drenched with deeply percolating water. I paint from within, and what I find within is "

Dana Roberts,
excerpt from: The Artist as Native: Reinventing Regionalism
Pomegranate Artbooks


  1. Dana's painting is beautiful

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