The Wyoming landscapes are inspired by a red rock cliff I saw while travelling on the Chief Joseph Scenic Trail east from Cody Wyoming. When I began rendering the layering of the strata, I found a technique of striping I used in 1967 worked satisfactorily. I was not attempting to paint the mountain, but an essence of the intricate convolutions of the rock formations.
While travelling on the Chief Joseph Scenic Hwy about 15 miles northwest of Cody Wyoming in 2016, I was especially engaged by a 6621 foot tilted stratified rock formation, (called a hogback, or flatiron, by geologists). When I returned to my studio and reviewed the images I had recorded of it, I knew I had to do something with them. Until now, I had not created landscapes during my 50-year career, but I began a series of sketches and paintings using a personal technique that resulted in "interpretations" of this formation. Because I wanted to give titles to my paintings, I attempted to search out the official name of "my mountain," but it was nameless, according to Kent Sundell. a geologist at Casper College in Wyoming. I submitted a naming application to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names even though it became apparent to me that there was very little chance for success. The criteria states; "If the intention is to memorialize a person, she/he needs to be dead for five years." In addition, "the name needs to be relevant and sensitive to the region's residents." I submitted the name of the sixth century pope, Saint Gregory, (when translated to French, would be "Mont Saint-Gregoire") an obvious reference to me. The transparency of my request was evident, and promptly rejected. However, I wanted to reveal the similarity in shape of this particular mountain in Wyoming to the mountain called Mont Sainte-Victoire in southern France. The famous French painter Paul Cezanne painted Mont Sainte-Victoire about 60 times, and, as a result the mountain is well known in the art world and most citizens of France. Its designation as a national monument with a marker on the main east-west toll road in the south of France is partly attributable to this obsession of Cezanne's.
Recently, I found a quote by the American Georgia O'Keeffe that gives me the confidence to unofficially name this mountain "Mont Saint-Gregoire" (it obviously rhymes with Mont Sainte-Victoire). O'Keeffe lived many years in New Mexico, painting flowers, skulls, and what she calls "her mountain" (Mount Pedernal). Her quote: "It's my private mountain. It belongs to me. God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it." The creation of 29 paintings so far may not qualify me for the official naming privilege. But considering the precedents established by Cezanne and O'Keeffe, I am assuming an attitude giving me "permission" to title my paintings "Mount Saint-Gregoire."