Shadows and Reflections looks down into the pond in spring, during the height of pollen season, when the pattern in the water of reflected leaves is blurred by the film of pollen and dust on the water’s surface. On bright days, a pattern of subtle cast shadows from nearby trees adds to the complexity. I confess to a lot of head-scratching when I work on paintings like this. There’s a bit of deciphering that has to come first, and I find myself caught between what my photographs show and what I remember. The bluish shadow pattern of vague leaf shapes, most evident in the center and lower right quadrant, is an example of some artistic license. I used blue not because the shadows were factually blue, but because I needed the color to balance the green and coral of the overhanging boughs.
Interestingly, the painting evokes the feeling of lying on one’s back and looking at clouds through trees, even though the painting is looking down into the pond’s surface. I love the duality, and the poetry of such moments. Details below. Enjoy!
Technical painting notes: There were no shortcuts with this painting. I had to paint fairly realistic reflected trees and leaves first, then obscure them under the dust and pollen (mostly using spatter technique). Once the “pollen” was in place, I went back and strengthened some leaves, focused light on branches, and took the liberty of adding some bright orange and coral stem lines for drama. With this done, I used gray-blue glaze to paint in the shadows on top of the pollen. The last step was re-spattering dust (and light) wherever the composition needed integration.