Drybrush of overturned pale of pinecones
The morning rains brought the temperatures down to a cool 84 degrees this morning. I managed to find enough tree shade and use of my broad-brimmed hat to keep the light drizzle from interfering with this piece. I had a delightful hour-and-twenty-minute period of focusing on this subject, thinking of Andrew Wyeth, and trying really hard to concentrate on the details and drawing skills.
I apologize in advance for a long and probably tedious blog. But I had plenty on my mind as I worked through this piece, and wish to share:
1. I’m delighted to return to some of the muted, earth tones that marked my signature style during my earlier body of work (2001-2009), but this time managed to get those colors on the page by using primary colors only (with the exception of one green). I have completely stopped using ivory black, burnt umber, sepia, yellow ochre, naples yellow, raw umber–pigments which were my staple during the last decade. Now I’m using only Winsor Green, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cadmium Red Medium and Alizarin Crimson. I’m delighted to get muted, natural earthy colors from these pigments.
2. I have gone “minimalist” on the supplies I haul with me in extreme situations. Tomorrow I fly out to Lake Tahoe for a four-day International Baccalaureate conference. I am scheduled to begin teaching the Theory of Knowledge course at Martin High School beginning fall 2011. Our afternoons will be free, so my intention is to get to Squaw Valley, then take a tram or nature trails up to where I can capture some mountain range vistas. For the trekking, I have managed now to get all my watercolor supplies (Winsor & Newton field box, Watercolor block, Brush tube, Water bottle) inside a small leather pack I purchased off a hot dusty street in the shadow of the Acropolis in Athens back in 2001. I’m very pleased now that I can complete a painting with just those essential elements in a light pack about 1/3 the size of a popular school backpack.
3. I’m happy to complete a plein air 9 x 12″ painting in under two hours now. I’m still working on speed, accuracy and painting more directly.
4. I enjoy the kinship and communion I feel with Andrew Wyeth, who left his home around 8:30 every morning, returned around 5:00 and laid out a body of work he had completed in the field. If I complete one painting in the field, then I’m very happy and satisfied.
5. Having worked exclusively in landscape settings over the years, I had grown fearful of close up still life studies and the discipline they seem to require. I’m happy now to have settled into that genre, outside my comfort zone. I have now done two watercolor drybrush studies and one pencil drawing of this pail and pine cones.
6. I save the best for last–at any point of my painting activity, all I had to do was look up to see my beautiful wife and soul mate, Sandi Jones, riding Andante and leading him over jumps out in the arena. I cannot explain the depth of satisfaction that I feel when working en plein air and having her nearby. Our journey to and from this location at Lyndon Acres is always satisfying, and the communion I feel with her as I paint goes too deep for words.
I hope I will find the technology to blog from Lake Tahoe. Unfortunately, I still do not have a laptop with Internet access. And I’m not sure if I’ll have computer access in the lodgings where I’ll be staying the next several days. If I don’t blog from California, then I’ll certainly catch up the blog when I return home next week.
Thanks for reading.