The western landscape offers endless choices for an artist. Deep colorful canyons, aspen covered mountains, swift running streams and pine forests are some of Hugh Mossman's favorite watercolor subjects.
Idaho has tremendous variety from the high deserts and deep gorges of the Southwest to the alpine splendor of the Sawtooth Mountains.
Within an hour's drive of Boise, one can travel from desert to mountain and see transitions from dry, stark landscape to lush Idaho pine country. Hugh says it is tempting to paint every tree and rock just as they appear, but his goal is to include just enough of the landscape to make it recognizable, with an emphasis on what has captured his interest in the subject. Hugh can't improve the imagery of the natural landscape, but he can edit the scene to draw attention to something vibrant and interesting.
Paintings are more personal when people and activities are part of the subject. The shapes and sights of urban life contrast sharply with the natural world. Buildings, cars, people, and streets are everyday experiences.
The goal is to create a watercolor composition that transforms these experiences into something exciting and unique. Hugh paints subjects that have a variety of shapes, colors and moods, and urban scenes provide unique opportunities.
Golf and Recreation Watercolors
Recreational subjects abound in Idaho, a place where people are active.
Snow skiing, white water rafting, fly fishing and hiking are all popular activities and make great subjects for Mossman Watercolors. These subjects are an opportunity to combine a landscape with a spark of human interest. If a watercolor encourages one to enter a painting and experience the activity depicted, it is at least a partial success.
What remains is the challenge of capturing the essence of the activity in a successful composition that compliments, rather than competes with, the primary subject.
Fly Fishing Watercolors
There is a certain feel and motion to fly fishing which appeals to Hugh. Mossman says it is an activity where one can simply get lost in the beauty of nature and the challenge of fooling a fish and landing it on a light tippet.
Mossman's Watercolors captures the pleasure in the process and accomplishment in the result. Most fly fishing in Idaho is for trout and there are an abundance of excellent streams to choose from in southwest Idaho.
One of Mossman's favorites is the South Fork of the Boise River, which is about 40 miles from Boise. It is an area that offers excellent rainbow fishing in a spectacular canyon setting. The canyon shadows, cottonwood colors in the fall and value contrasts of rock and water provide endless watercolor compositions.
The Sun Valley area also offers great fishing and subject matter. The Wood River Valley and Cooper Basin have clear streams in wooded, alpine settings.
Silver Creek is world renown for spring creek fishing and is an oasis in the high prairie south of Sun Valley.
Each area possesses a unique package of shapes, color and mood that is fun to paint. The next best thing to being there, wading in the stream is trying to capture the experience with paint and paper.