Reflections On A Pond: A Visual Journal by Kevin Macpherson : 2005 (260 pgs)
Every day is special brushed with the art spirit
I am a lucky man! My wife purchased a copy of Kevin Macpherson's stunning book, Reflections on a Pond as surprise bithday gift for me. Since the book had to be ordered from the US there was much anxiety on her part waiting for it's safe arrival in South Africa. Fortunately all went well and I am now the proud owner of a copy of this unique book signed by the author and endorsed with the quote above.
I have been a big fan of Kevin Macpherson for many years. He is justifiably world renowned for his rich brushwork and meticulous color mixing that has made his paintings highly sought after. Macpherson is also a leading exponent of the plein air movement. It is this part of Macpherson's process and works that has so intrigued me when I first came across his online gallery. Shapes and color put down with brisk confidence in large dollops of paint all coming together to show the essence of a fleeting moment. Intuitive painting that produces delightful impressions.
In the project Reflections on a Pond the artist set out to depict the pond on his New Mexico property on each day over a year. Set with a backdrop of stunning mountains and forest the pond makes a perfect subject for this ambitious project. Of course the subject for any impressionist is the atmosphere and light. Having a reflective surface in the pond is a bonus that adds interest to the subject.
Macpherson used panels of 6x8" and a basic palette of alizarin, cadmiun red, cadmium yellow, ultramarine and white. Although each day of a year is depicted, for practical reasons the project took five years to complete. Over 500 panels were painted out of which 368 panels were selected for the book. Imagine what all these panels would look like spread over your floor! Then having to assess each one, record and photograph it for this coffee table sized book. I can imagine that some artists may start a project like this and abandon it along the way. Kevin Macpherson saw it through, which speaks voloumes for his dedication to his art.
The book is divided into four seasons starting in winter. Several paintitngs per season have been printed in actual size. The photographs are sumptuous. The brushstroke's texture is clearly visible and the colors are gem-like.
The remainder of paintings are printed in smaller versions and dated in sequence. At the end of the book Macpherson's personal diary entries have been reproduced. We are treated to an insight into his joys, frustrations and philosophy of painting. Interesting anecdotes, for example, the artist's displeasure with his neighbour for cutting down trees, the struggle to paint when energy is low together with the joys of a beautiful moment recorded in paint. All is faithfully recorded in this book.
A subtitle on page 15 reads: "Magnificent Obsessions: From Monet's Garden to Macpherson's Pond". This series of work echos Monet's obsession with light and atmosphere in his many paintings of the pond at Giverny. Is Kevin Macpherson our contemporary Monet? I would certainly argue that he is a successor to Monet in the true sense of the artist's spirit.
I am also very grateful to have this book in my collection. It is unique and needless to say, well worth adding to your library.
See the Official Website: Reflections On A Pond
See more of Kevin Macpherson's work here.