Friday, October 11, 2019

Range, Divide, and Endless Sky, a novel.

 I am thrilled to announce that my eleventh novel, RANGE, DIVIDE, AND ENDLESS SKY., is available now.
  After two sojourns in Routt County in northwest Colorado I knew that I needed to write about this beautiful, powerful place. Of course I needed to paint it as well, and as I did so an idea began to make take form, taking shape as the story of an artist who comes to the region to paint and explore in the 1930s. 

Below are a couple of excerpts, for any who would like to sample the story:

Chapter One

              If you are fortunate in life, you will know what it is to have a particular mountain, with all the land, water, and sky it surveys, haunt your dreams and memories.
Wait… Let me write that again.
 you are unfortunate in life, you will know what it is to have a particular mountain, with all the land, water, and sky it surveys, haunt your dreams and memories.
  The mountain can bring beauty and inspiration: the power to lift your soul, your imagination.
  The mountain can also bring pain and suffering: the power to break your will, destroy your body; to bring misery and death.
 The particular mountain that haunts my horizon now is known as Hahn’s Peak. Before it was given the name of the man whom it helped destroy, it was known to trappers, explorers, and wanderers here in northwest Colorado as “Old Baldy”.
 The Indians in this country, the Utes, might have their own name for it, but I have yet to learn it. I do hope to know that name some day, and even speak it myself. There’s so much I’ve yet to find out about this place, and that’s just one example.

 I will try to describe the mountain with words, though it will take me some time, I think. I’m a painter by trade and calling, an artist. I describe best with line and color; with brush and wet pigment and the carefully preserved white of the paper. And painting was what brought me here to this wide and quiet wilderness in the high country near the Continental Divide, brought me here to live within sight of the mountain called Hahn's Peak......


Chapter Two

It all started with a shave, a haircut, and a new Stetson hat.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling that comes with a fresh shave and haircut in town after you have been two weeks alone in the mountains. Add to that the feel of a stiff new fur-felt hat with a high crown, a broad brim to keep out the sun and rain while letting the cool breeze stir against the back of your neck—-well, maybe you get the idea of just how fine I was feeling.
I stepped out of the cool leather-and-felt mercantile smell of F.M. Light and Company, into the late-morning sunshine of Steamboat Springs, my new hat clamped down tight on my head. That sun was strong, but I was ready for it now. That cool breeze did its job on the back of my neck, right where the barber had splashed me with bay rum and dusted me with talc. I looked out at the clean streets and brick and wood buildings of town, the cars parked and shining in the sun, the big masses of mountains rising blue-black, streaked with remnant snow, that ringed the town.
Good morning, cowboy.” The burr-throated female voice made me turn my head. Ursuline Kelley grinned at me. She had her hands in her dungaree pockets. Her green eyes glinted, even beneath the shade of her beat-up hat.
Let me make it clear that I would no way pass for any kind of cowboy, and that despite the Stetson. My eastern boots and paint-spattered pants were just the first things that gave me away, I’m pretty sure.
Would you care to buy me a cup of coffee?” she asked.
Ursuline was for sure the forward type. Easy to get along with. But maybe not so easy to figure out.
Hoped toumm, had a feelingI’d run into you,” she said, “It being the ranger’s day in town. Got something I want to show you.” She tapped the toe of a riding-heeled boot against a curbstone. “Over coffee.”
I had all day. Well, until four o’clock when I’d be meeting the ranger for a ride back to the Reserve with the supplies I’d be buying today. I had an order of watercolor cakes and papers to pick up from the stationers; groceries to purchase and pack back to the cabin. None of that would take a whole day.
And I bet you can guess that after two weeks alone in the mountains and another two weeks likely ahead of me, I was not at all averse to having a cup of coffee or two with Miss Ursuline Kelley.....

excepts from RANGE, DIVIDE, AND ENDLESS SKY, by Kevin Macneil Brown

You can purchase a copy here:

Monday, September 02, 2019

Depth of Place (new paintings)

I've written before about what I call depth of place: the resonance of sky, water ,landforms, weather, memory. There are certain places that, once experienced, might make their own inner harmonies and mysteries sound inside me. These are the places I cannot help but paint over and over again- KMB
                                                  Lake Champlain, changing skies

South Fork River, NW Colorado
Summer stillness, Hinman  Lake (2)

Paintings by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor and gouache on paper, summer 2019.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Morning Sky, May

                                            Morning Sky, May 24- Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown,
                                          watercolor and gouache on paper, 2019.

                   The sky and light of late spring in Vermont can offer change and surprise. Here is a moment caught just after 7 AM, with wind and rain moving through and sudden breaks in the clouds bringing splashes of light to the new green on the hills.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

range and divide (with endless sky) - New Music

   Continuing my inner resonance with the mystery of high peaks and big sky, this soundscape composition works with material made with steel guitar back in October of 2018, later shaped and altered digitally to create texture and harmonic haze.
 The shape and sound of this piece had been hovering in my mind for months, and in January of 2019   I awoke from a dream wherein I had heard--and seen-- it complete.
 That morning I sketched the score/map shown here,  and used it as a guide as I made the piece, which was finished and recorded in February.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Mountains, again....

This winter I have been focusing much of my painting time on mountains. The shapes and textures, the mystery and science of the way they change from day to day in different light and shadow continue to hold me in thrall.
 Along with a few recent watercolors of mountains in both Vermont and Colorado,  I'd also like to share an excerpt from my latest novel-in-progress. The words below are in the form of a journal entry by the book's narrator and protagonist, an artist named Euclid Lane who has, in the 1930s, come to paint in the high country of Northwest Colorado.

Paintings by Kevin Macnieil Brown, watercolor and graphite on paper, January 2019.

It’s a struggle, sometimes, to keep certain aspects of the painting in balance. The urge is to paint what you see. But then there’s that other urge, sometimes just as strong, to paint what you know.
The thing is, what you see and what you know do not always agree.
You can always fall back safely on what you see, but as you learn to see better—- to see more and to see more deeply—-you might find out that seeing is, after all, not enough.
One day, then, you find yourself using everything you see and everything you know, to start painting what you don’t know, won’t ever know. 
If you manage to get that all going together, well, you just might have a chance of painting the mountain--or anything, really—- and getting it almost right.  
- Kevin Macneil Brown, excerpt from a novel in progress, 2019.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Mountains in Winter

                                        Alpenglow on Worcester Range 
                         Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2018.

Sunburst Over Continental Divide
Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor and gouache on paper, 2018.

Snow came in  November here in Vermont, and I prepared my winter palette earlier than usual. Having just finished the first draft of a new novel set in mountainous country, I found that mountains were very much in my heart and mind, and mountains are mostly what I have been painting in these last months of the year. 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

two quiet autumn places in sound

During the month of October I  made two pieces of sound art inspired by a desire to create an audio analogue to the inner and outer energies of two quiet places in the autumn landscape.

The tools I used were simple: a steel guitar tuned to proportions that came from meditation and listening, a decades-old reverb unit with delay and echo settings I had made a long time ago, and a laptop for capture and mix.

The music was played and recorded in one pass, which resulted in the first piece below. The same material was shaped in mixing to create the second piece.As I worked I immersed myself in memories and  feelings from the places that were the inspirations.