April showers, and there have been a lot of them this year, were the inspiration for Willow Weep, which looks at the surface of a an early spring pond after heavy rains and gale force winds. The abstract pattern of last year’s leaves blown across the water acts in counterpoint to the geometric verticals of both dark and light tree trunk reflections. The beginnings of duckweed growth form their own pattern interspersed with the willow leaves, and on top of all that is the pattern of the sky’s reflection, introducing some pale blues into the composition. In truth, this painting started with bold blues and strong yellows on a sunny day. But with several violent storms progressing through the region, the painting seemed too strident. I grayed down the colors and decided to emphasize the subtle poetry of the blown leaves and softer colors. Being an optimist, I chose to show the Robin’s egg blue sky returning. Details below. Enjoy!
Technical painting notes: Willow Weep employs all my usual techniques borrowed from monoprint and watercolor painting, including multitudes of transparent glazes. For more information on these techniques, go to the blog post for Diva. But perhaps there are equally important lessons to take away from the experience of working on this painting, including being open to new influences, being flexible, and actually seeing the variations of each day. When I decided to “follow the weather” and change the mood from a sunny day to one with an overcast sky, I wasn’t at all confidant I could pull it off. I came close to sanding the image away and starting over. But I waited a day, and reconsidered that action. Some day, I’ll paint the bright, rambunctious mood of the pond on a bright spring day in another painting. In the meantime, I like the quiet, capricious mood in Willow Weep.