As if from a dream of lapping water, seen from above, beside, and below, Summer’s Song is a recollection of subtle visual, sensual, and auditory phenomena. The initial inspiration for the painting came from watching waves on Cape Cod – seeing through their transparent forms and catching glimpses of their interiors. I was transfixed – seeing both the interior and exterior simultaneously. When I started the painting, I wanted to capture that simultaneity. The sense of seeing the water from all directions. And of hearing the movement of air and bubbles bursting toward the surface. I also wanted to “show” that music in all its forms is around us all the time. The lapping rhythms of water, the shooooshshshshsh of water moving, the bubbles as three-dimensional notes, the linear patterns of water corresponding to the musical staff. The more I look, the more I find signs of a universl music.
Technical painting notes: There is nothing straightforward about Summer’s Song. It began with a roll of dark blue greens over the panel, into which I dripping and brushed mineral spirits, disturbing the thin paint layer then blotting into it. This was allowed to dry. I followed up by developing a rhythm of side-to-side strokes of lighter blue greens and darker greens, working my way to the bottom of the panel. this too was allowed to dry. The next step was to glaze the entire panel, developing more tones of color and introducing some darker, colder blues and violets near the bottom. (Because I couldn’t open my usual jar of Liquin medium, I used a thinner viscosity of the same product, Liquin Fine Detail). I I then spattered some color into the surface, followed by drips of mineral spirits, which I intended to blot as usual. To my surprise, using the thinner viscosity of glaze medium prevented easy blotting – too much blotted away! So I added more drips of solvent and waited to see what it would do. The puddles slowly pushed the oil color outward, forming little dams. Very cool!
When dry, I layered more glaze and solvent drips. The next day I enhanced the small pools of color, defining them more, and adding a bit of violet to some. I also spattered a fine spray of color into the waves, to illuminate them and create more vertical movement. When dry, I highlighted some of the horizontal ripples and brought a touch more light to the lower center of the panel. A detail from the left side of the painting is below.