Oh Breezy Day started as an interpretation of trees and boughs overhanging a vernal pool – lots of reflections amid the fresh colors of spring. It was quite realistic. When I revisited the site later in the week, it was a breezy day. Wind was dancing with the leaves and clouds, and the feeling had changed entirely. I liked the dynamic of all that movement, and completely reworked the painting over the ensuing years to capture the feel of the second visit. The new painting reminds me of a series of studies I did a while back called conversations between clouds and leaves (you can see them by going to the drop-down menu above, look for small pondscapes, cloud-gazing). Art is a spiral that keeps glancing off the past. Details below. Enjoy.
Tag Archives: Hamlen Woods
Wetland Woods – Spring
After the silence and freeze of winter, spring can seem like an explosion of sound and color. Every green imaginable is reflected in my favorite swamps and ponds. The peepers are singing, the birds are flirting, and I want to put the feel of all this exploding life into a painting. It is all about joy and life! Details below. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: I used a thin black oil paint (reduced with stand oil and mineral spirits) to roll a few broad gestures on the white, primed panel, then used an ebony pencil to draw more details. When this base was dry, I used Liquin glazes over the whole surface, then began blocking in the sky reflections to set the composition and values. From there, it was a process of layering glazes with more pencil drawing, some detailed brush work, and lots of “painting” with my soft rubber rollers. Building the surface and colors with repeated layering of semi-transparent paints allows the painting to almost glow. It’s an old watercolor trick translated into oils with soft brushes and the roller.
The free-form marks suggestive of branches and trees either reflected or bending over the water sets up a syncopated rhythm that I used to suggest the energy of spring.
Wetland Woods – June Morning
My ritual stopover at the Hamlen Woods this morning revealed just how much rain we had yesterday. The pond and swamps are looking so lush and the woods so green. A robin accompanied me and had much to say. I do wish I spoke the robin language. Details below. Enjoy.
March Morning at Hamlen Woods
March Morning at Hamlen Woods is all about the brightening days and the gray beauty of the woods just before the trees bud. We’ve had some wet weather, so the bog and swamp conditions must have the beavers celebrating. I confess, much as I look forward to spring, I always feel sad to see winter go. The trees are so lovely when you can see their structure. Details below. Enjoy.
When I start, I don’t know where it will end. This little study became the puddle after rain. Enjoy.
The woods is such a rich habitat, and reflections found there are both sumptuous and a puzzle to paint. I can get lost – in a good way. Sometimes finding a way out is best done with a pencil, drawing the reflected branches through the wet paint. Details below. Enjoy.
Spring Poem from the Pond
One philosophy says less is more, and I often feel it is a good approach for painting winter. Another philosophy, playfully expressed as less is a bore, is more baroque and positively enjoys excess and exuberance. Spring is the place for that energy, and don’t leave anything out! My new painting is full of the explosion of life that happens at the pond in spring. A praise poem to life and renewal. Details below. Enjoy!
The Noble Grasses – Homage to the Rimpa Artists
Visiting the pond regularly, I’ve watched the slow transformation of tufted swamp grasses from green to gold to nearly a parchment color as winter takes hold. Bound by ice they have a grace and nobility about them that I admire. Perhaps my deep respect for the Japanese Rimpa artists and their gorgeous screen paintings of grasses also informs this new painting. The way these artists concentrated on nature and subjects others might consider insignificant appeals to me. Everything in nature is important. Everything has a purpose. Details below. Enjoy.
I chose to draw as well as paint the grasses for several reasons. First the aesthetic quality of line dark gray/black contrasting with color, but also I think the line drawing performs another role – that of reminding us the grasses are like a memory and a premonition of what they will be again.