Louisiana Mud Paintings

In an age  where pre-packaging and pre-mixing perdominates, it is easy to forget that not long ago an artist mined his pigments from the earth of his homeland.  The pigments to which an artist had access, their purity and the ways in which the artist combined them, produced a palette as unique as the artist.

So it is with Henry Neubig, a Louisiana artist who adheres to that honorable tradition.  With pigments from the alluvial soils of his home state, Neubig has created a distinctive personal palette that is surprisingly rich in hues.  The earthy delta browns and thundery blacks you expect to see are there.  What you don't expect are the delicate pinks, the robust ochres, the primeval reds and the luminous greys, the mauves, an almost unbelievable green.

Best of all, Neubig paints what he knows.  What he knows best is rural Louisiana.  He appreciates it.  Louisiana is his subject, his message, and his medium.  Summer is the season Louisiana has the most of.  Six months give or take a cold front or two.  There is a lot of summer in Neubig's work. 

With warmth and charm and a good bit of grace, Neubig captures those
quiet, fleeting everyday moments that just don't last: the right before times, the right-after times, the right-in-the-middle-of-it times.  Summer times.  You will recognize them all.

That too brief, exquisite time of a summer evening right before dark when the water smooths out flat and shines like silk and it's time to go home, go back to school, go back to work-- and nobody wants to.  Ever. 

A single, elegant stem of summer blossom that will be gone tomorrow.  Or the day after.  Empty rockers on the porch.  A landscape so serene, so perfectly composed as to remind you that someone planned it, someone planted it to grow just that way--to remind you.  The decrepit old houses that should have fallen down, would have fallen down--and surely will--but haven't yet because growing things and a certain ramshackle tidiness proclaim them to be tended by loving old hands.  Homes.  Now. if not forever. 

Farms and farm animals as familiar as memories of recent days when almost everybody--then everybody's grandparents--lived on farms.  Somewhere.  Appealing in their attractive coats, their furs and their feathers, the farm animals are doing pretty much what they  have always done.  Scratching out a living.  Observing the pecking order.  Waiting to be milked.  Placid, as unconcerned as ever they were.  Ordinary scenes of ordinary farm life.  Rare as hen's teeth.  Today.

Neubig's knowing eye reveals Louisiana with eloquent simplicity.  He tells you about time and more.  He reminds you that each moment has value.  No matter how small.  How ordinary.  How fleeting.

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