Yes, my favorite season has to be fall. It isn’t just the range of colors, but the return of cooler nights and more moderate days. This small painting sums up the glowing light of autumn, when gold and citrine drench the woods and air. Enjoy!
It’s a familiar trail through Purgatory Charm. You start in open sunlight and descend to the bottom of the damp, boulder strewn, rock-walled chasm. Warm to cool, easy to difficult, bright to mysterious. And it happens quickly. No matter how many times I visit, it thrills me. So, when I started this little painting at the beginning of the week, I thought I knew where I was going. But from the first stroke, something was new. The nearly black shadows were suggestive enough to stand on their own, so I concentrated on the sunlit trees and foreground ledge and boulders. A few scraped out trunks and branches were enough to say “trees.” The white of the paper left of center implied sunlight deeper in the woods. I decided to call it finished – partly because it felt fresh and new, partly because the abstractness of it echoed the abstract quality of this particular location. Enjoy!
Technical painting notes: I used a smooth rag printmaking paper (primed with shellac both sides). Winsor/Newton Liquin Impasto medium added substance and translucency to the paint, and sped the drying. A smallish palette knife provided control and some great accidents, A silicone scraper was used to remove paint for trunks and a few limbs. I liked the contrast of bare paper in some places with thick paint elsewhere.
It’s hard to imagine how roots can penetrate the cracks enough to get a hold, let alone grow. And yet there are trees here, even if there is a limit to their eventual growth . Which makes me wonder, am I looking at an old but stunted tree, or a sapling?
Hiking around the chasm is a mystery tour. The surrounding countryside hardly hints at the crazy jumble that is exposed along the fault line. Mountain building, plate tectonics, multiple glacial events – it’s all exposed if you can read the code. Of course even geologists hypothesize with some of the evidence. Maybe that’s part of the reason to keep returning – to see what might be revealed after each freeze/thaw season, Or it might be about catching a glimpse of the granite whales emerging from this turbulent land. Enjoy.