Plein Air Watercolor with thoughts of Andrew Wyeth and William Carlos Williams

Fall Foliage watercolor sketch

Good day!  As stated yesterday, I have too much on my plate this weekend.  Considerable band activity, rehearsal time and general fun has eaten away at much of it.  Business-related paperwork and school preparations have taken the rest of it.

But yesterday, I had a moment’s respite to dive back into some William Carlos Williams poetry.  I purchased volume 1 of his Collected Poems this past year, and swore I would not lay out the money for volume 2 until I had read all of volume 1 (such promises usually keep me from every buying a volume 2).

As I read his poems “Spring Strains” and “To a Solitary Disciple” I experienced what Robert Motherwell often described as a “shock of recognition.”  This young physician/poet was constantly calling out the complementary colors of blue and orange as he rhapsodized on the landscape enveloping him.  It reminded me of that time in my youth when I felt I had finally found the key to unlock the door to landscape colors.  Always being fond of Andrew Wyeth’s drybrush renderings of fall and winter landscapes, I always found dissatisfaction with my own efforts, relying on neutral colors purchased in the art stores (sepia, burnt umber, payne’s gray, yellow ochre, naples yellow, etc.).  I always thought my colors were flat and barren, while Wyeth’s colors glowed with some kind of energy that I see when I look upon nature herself.  One day I decided to work the complementary colors, and voila!  my natural compositions began to take on a life of their own.

The sketch posted above was kicked out in about 30 minutes.  It is rather small, approximately 9 x 9″.  But I worked exclusively in reds-greens, blues-oranges, and violets-yellows to get this autumnal late-afternoon effect.  I then felt a connection to Andrew Wyeth (wish I could say that I was “channeling” him!), and this morning, as I mused over the William Carlos Williams lines, I suddenly went back into the studio to pull this piece and look it over again.  Wow, I now wish I had this afternoon available to paint!  But, appointments linger . . .

Thanks for reading.

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2 Responses to “Plein Air Watercolor with thoughts of Andrew Wyeth and William Carlos Williams”

  1. lindahalcombfineart Says:

    Brilliant and so alive!


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