What we find in the woods is mysterious and true

TM9696 What we find in the woods is mysterious and true 36×36 oil and pencil on panel

Many people ask why I spend so much time rambling around Hamlen Woods, painting the same swamps and trees, pond and creek. Why not go to (fill in the blank). They don’t understand that every visit is new. I know the heron’s favorite trees, where the ferret swims, where the snakes like to sun in the fall, and where ducks like to wade the path to get to the bigger pond. Also the best spots for blueberries, the shallows where the frogs hold forth, and when to photograph the swans without scaring them. In winter, I study ice patterns, and they are always different. Last week I saw columns of crystals growing in the shallows, connecting the icy surface to the pond floor. I never see the same thing twice.

And then there’s what happens when I return to the studio, full of ideas, sounds, and visually memorized details to paint. Each painting session includes whatever I saw (and felt) from my last visit, merging into one visual statement that somehow expresses another aspect of the place.

What we find in the woods is mysterious and true is certainly an example of this hybridization. It also delves further into my experimentation with rollers and pencils as tools for painting. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9696 What we find in the woods is mysterious and true – detail from left side
TM9696 What we find in the woods is mysterious and true – detail from upper left
TM9696 What we find in the woods is mysterious and true – detail from lower left
TM9696 What we find in the woods is mysterious and true – detail from center showing use of transparent and opaque paint
TM9696 What we find in the woods is mysterious and true – detail from upper right

Technical painting note: Since the captions describe some of the process, let me just add that while the linework variations are becoming more diverse, I am also interested in the contrasts of transparency vs. opacity, and letting some of the thinly glazed substrate show through in the final painting, making the layers more obvious and enhancing the sense of depth.