There is a wonderful book, published in 2014, titled “In Search of the Dark Watchers – Landscapes and Lore of Big Sur”; field sketches and paintings by Benjamin Brode, field notes by Thomas Steinbeck. In this lovely book, Thomas Steinbeck tells a tale that has been part of the Big Sur lore since the early days of the Esalen Native Americans. His stories inspired Benjamin Brode to venture forth on his own personal journey to paint the mystery and majesty of this wild California coastline. These paintings are the core of the Corridan Gallery Exhibit.
The Dark Watchers are mysterious and elusive folk that live in the dark forests and canyons of Big Sur. Usually they are more sensed than seen; “if for a brief moment they entertain the least suspicion… the Dark Watchers will literally evaporate in front of your eyes like the fog”.
This Exhibit is not as much about the book or the fascinating Dark Watchers themselves, but about the paintings by Brode that capture the enchanted landscapes of Big Sur. In these we see the places that give rise to the legends. Thomas Steinbeck shows his appreciation of the paintings in the book:
“I went to Ben’s studio. To say that I was truly amazed by the paintings he showed me would be a blatant understatement. All the pieces were quite modest in size, but each and every one contained the spark of the living locations I had known and loved all my life. Not only were the paintings beautifully executed, they were the very first landscapes of the Big Sur I had ever seen that actually reinvoked those deep sensations I had marveled at in my youth, but with a greater depth of feeling because of Ben’s ingenious use of the transitory coastal light, the alternating brilliant forest colors and most especially the fog stalking through the trees like feral cats.”
The Exhibit at Corridan Gallery includes 22 of the original 25 paintings that were in the book and a selection of Benjamin Brode’s recent Oil Paintings of Big Sur. This is the first time these paintings have been offered for sale. Volumes of the First Edition of the book will also be on sale at the Gallery. This hardbound Limited Edition is numbered and signed by Benjamin Brode and Thomas Steinbeck. Please click here for more information about the book and images of the paintings.
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