Every year, as winter approaches, I am amazed by the richness of its subdued colors and the exquisite tangles of growth that are revealed once the leaves fall. It is also possible to see more clearly the activity of beavers. With this in mind, I decided to try a painting that was more from the beaver’s point of view. Of course the generous supply of raw building material would be prominent in their perceptions, but also the low vantage point, one that could be available from their own front “porch.” So, a good winter to all my friends, and may your homes be as snugly designed as the beavers’. Details below. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: The painting is based, for its composition, on the photo below, along with memories of floating slivery leaves. The first layer was rolled on using transparent darker umbers, violets, black and burnt sienna, which were then dragged with solvent and plastic wrap. Mineral spirits were spattered and blotted (or sometimes left alone). The basic pattern of branches was scraped in quickly before the paint could start to dry. When this layer was dry, glazes were applied and again allowed to dry. highlights on branches were introduced, additional tree forms and green colors were added and allowed to dry. The next stage was to start defining the reflected sky. Toward that end, opaques light blues defined the negative shapes between branches. More hints of color were added – faded crimsons suggestive of autumn’s last leaves. More layers of sky, glaze, and “twigs” were added. A few spatters of green activated the darks and helped to suggest slight bits of debris still on the surface. More floating leaves were added (in a variety of rust and golden tones). A slight drift of translucent gray helped to define the water’s surface, and also suggests the imminent arrival of ice.