Once in a while
Even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while. I just finished yet another paint out and, having done way too many, I decided I would spend more time on fewer paintings. The old days of banging out 3 paintings a day are done for me, I'm too old. Plus I have a show next week at Arts on Douglas in New Smyrna, a solo show and the gallery has lot of space to fill. I was hoping for two 30x40's during the week but since I had started a 60x70 in the studio for the show, my time was split. I got the 30x40 (above) and a 30x30 and two little quickies. Now, I'm not going to proclaim that the above is a great painting. It's not.....but it is good. I like it.
I like the idea of it. I have a tendency towards the busy and as hard as I try I can't quite edit stuff out, so I chose a simple construct and went from there. A couple of cypress knees and a trunk or two and a lot of water. I like water for a lot of reasons but as a plein air painter I like it because it is hard to paint. Give me a photo of water and I can render the hell out of it but when it's moving and the light is changing and the surface keeps changing and the f-ing wakeboarders keep going by and murking up the water with their noisy boats, well, it's hard.
I started with a simple charcoal drawing and washed in general hues and values with a sponge brush at the end of the day and went back the next day around 3 to finish it up. A big painting like this takes a little planning. Phase 1: Drawing, Phase 2: loose block in, Phase C: Mix up huge piles of the colors that you think you will need, more than you need, Phase Q1: Paint like the wind beneath your wings, and the final phase, which is Phase Omega is to take out stuff. I haven't done Phase Omega yet. Wait, Omega is beer, it's Phase Orion that is the editing part.
Anyhoo the thing that I really love about this painting isn't the painting. It was standing on the dock with a park full of squawking birds (fledglings) with the right temperature and the right everything. The very best part was this, half way through this thing I was thinking, "It could use a bird." But I've never actually put a bird in a painting, I don't know why, they just seem gimmicky to me. But I thought, if one steps into the the composition, hopefully up by the base of the tree, I will put him in. And sure enough, a young fledgeling stepped in to the right place at the right time. I put him in. A little gift from Ma Nature.
By the way, if you happen to be in New Smyrna next week on Saturday. Come by the Arts on Douglas gallery for the opening... probably 40 to 50 paintings, mostly plein air, some studio. We'll have cheap wine and Chexmix and a laugh.