Here, finally, is the last of the blogs I wrote earlier this year. It’s dated in July; now it’s already early September. Tomorrow I leave for a two-week vacation, Hooray! When I return, I can start posting blogs in real time. Won’t that be a nice change?
Early September means just the first hint of color in the leaves. Sometimes you see a tree or a branch of a tree, generally trees that are more stressed, I think, showing real fall color. Mostly it’s just a kind of softening of the greens, a subtle shift away from the definitive greens to something a little muddier, with a hint of ochre perhaps or the slightest touch of not-quite-red. When I come back, we will be roaring toward the glory of foliage season.
July 8, 2014
I have had a month’s hiatus from painting. The summer has been crazed for me so far! I have had three family trips, all involving air travel (two nieces graduated), friends visiting (yikes, have to really clean the house!), and visiting family as well.
Last week I finally stated a painting, something with the wild skies that I love. It is usually a similar process when I paint, but always more accentuated when I have been away from it for a while. The setup is straightforward enough: choose an image, consider value balance and color plans. Choose paper and size. Make photos to use when working. Put everything up on my easel. Make a sketch. Good so far! Then I can start getting myself into trouble!
This time, I got partway into the sky and started thinking: “I have forgotten how to paint.” Sometimes what I think is: “I can’t paint, whatever made me think I could?” I was painting with a friend, and complained to her, “Why do I always choose these complicated skies?” (Which were exactly the point of this particular painting, of course!) I stuck with it, struggling. Then there comes a point when I put something in there and it comes together, even if just a little, even just that small area. Oh, I think. Nice. Maybe I can paint, after all.
Of course, then I get to work on the meadow underneath the sky, and the treeline and hills between the two. And, oh yes, those two pines sitting off to the left, hmmm, what about those? With each, I may have something of the same struggle, although once at least part of the painting pleases me, I am no longer so impressed by any difficulties. With each area, though, there are usually small moments of discovery, moments when I try a color or shape and like the results. I realize that I am making this sound quite haphazard, but actually, I am far enough along in my development as an artist that I mostly make informed choices. That at least increases the probability that I could like the results!
This painting still sits on my easel at the moment. The sky is as far as I can take it until I have the rest in place. I have the pines in, and the meadow as well as the distant hills. I still need to finish the treeline. Then comes the final stage: looking at the whole and pulling it together, marrying colors from the sky to the earth and vice versa, looking at balance and movement and trying to judge what else it needs so it will truly sing.
In news from life around me, I recently saw a bear crossing the road in front of my car, followed by three little cubs! Oh, my! This happened when I was driving the visiting friends around; it sure is nice when you can offer visitors an experience like that. The resident bunny comes out from under the deck most evenings to nibble grass right nearby. And I have seen a number of young fawns, most still with spots. They are so curious and approach the world so openly, and have not learned the fearfulness of the adults. They are good models for all of us!