Topos by Mark Allen 
Watercolor by Dr. Lee J. Allen

       During my adolescence my father began painting watercolor. He has always had an artistic frequency running steady through out the lives of his three Allen boys. I, the youngest, was around during the his transition to watercolor. It was the same time I began alpine climbing. His dedication to his skills gave him alpine starts before commuting to his dental practice in Everett WA and brushing out a few layers of his paintings 3-4 days a week. The weekends were for watercolor classes and preparing the next weeks paper. 15 years later we both find ourselves reaching new hights in our personal progression. Every year we get a little smoother and a little higher, exploring new terrain. It has been fun to spectate his growth. This year the National Water Color Society has selected by jury Dr. Allen to be included in the 2010 National Show in Los Angeles, CA: a personal lifetime achievement and national recognition.
     I have been bugging him for the last year to collaborate on a project with me. A project we take on together but depending on the others skill to complete it, much like in alpine climbing . I will draw my rendition of the route, peak, or line and he uses it as an armature to express his version of color, light, and shadow with brush. 

Mark Allen's Topo of Vitalogy. A pencil drawing was drafted in the Ruth Gorge Base Camp in tent city 24 hours after the climb. An Ink pen version was recreated in Seattle.  A copy machine version was inked  and then digitally photographed to Jpeg. The file was printed on Water color paper that Dr. Allen painted the color layer on. Then Finally digitally photographed.

       I hammer out a final draft after several adaptations of my lifeless ink drawing. My Micron pens outline all the important information of the route with a hint of third dimension. I hand it to my Father waiting for his approval and that it's ready for the next phase. As he adds his wet paint, he controls the bleed of ink, manipulating it to his desire. Purple,Yellow, Brow, Blue he forms the mountain into a feeling and giving it life. Much like a human has a body over their skelaton, it takes form and beauty over the structured line of ink.

The Allen-Allen finale rendition after collaboration. I was amazed at the difference in dimension the color added after my Father was done with the Water Color layer. 

          My father does not yet know that he has opened pandora's box. This has only provoked a greater desire to approach him with more ideas and collaborate more. This was a small but fun project. What makes it special, is the unification of our two passions. I reflect on this climb and have found it to be comprised of moments like this one. Its what makes Vitalogy.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! Congrats to you both for your mighty achievements!