I’m back to the woods, looking for the way in, trying to find a path that will yield something new. This week I drew closer to the subject, tried a limited palette with closer values and more simplification. It feels right. Into the Woods #13 is below.
Happy with #13, I began again, trying to take what I learned into the next painting. I approached #14 in a similar way, but used a gesso-primed watercolor paper. I wanted a bit more texture on the surface under the color. I painted a close grove (the wall) quite realistically, then took a roller and started rolling over it to see what would happen. The colors melded and the simplification that resulted was interesting. I went back in with a brush to enhance the trees, added some graphite drawing, detailed the sky, and let it be. The balance between real and abstract, detail and suggestion was improving.
Excited by #14, I decided to do another experiment, but this time I picked up a study I had started in 2006 of the same subject. Unresolved, it had been leaning against a shelf begging for another effort. I painted the trees again, letting much of the original attempt show through, then started drawing into it with pencil, looking for the stark gestures of trunks in a space. I used the roller repeatedly, to soften and mute the results, then redrew the trunks. l like the feel of working this way with a roller (soft rubber). It allows for more spontaneity. Pulling the image out of the matrix keeps the process exciting. It also introduces an element of non-control – something I used to love in watercolor. I think #15 is the turning point. Process and subject are on the same path.