Friday, November 25, 2011

Blowing on the Coals

Beneath the Willows
Watercolor + Ink
9" X 12"

Coming back to a painting that's gone cold is like coming back to a plate of food after a long unexpected but important phone call has interrupted your dinner. The enthusiasm when you first sat down is lost when you return to the once appealing, now congealing meal.
Nonetheless, one has to give it the old college try—especially when you have a promising start on a piece. It's always fun to start a painting, but when time is short and you are dealing with the distractions that come with plein-air painting (like bugs, wind, and darkness), you are sometimes forced to set a piece aside before it's well established. That’s what happened here. It was cool, windy, and the sun was going down—so it was getting colder. I had to call it quits because I was shivering and my bottom was getting numb from sitting on the damp soil.

This piece was beyond cold. It was a dry, shrunken crust on the creative dinner plate. I won’t even show you the before painting, because it is so different from the result. The piece started out loose and filled with rich, warm colors. It became cooler upon my return to it—literally and figuratively. I found myself reaching back through thick cobwebs to remember the color and the value that I had not quite captured. I tried to put myself back into the mood of the place and recapture what first inspired me to sit in that spot beneath the willows at Lone Pine Creek.

I’m not sure that this painting will make the final cut, but I thought I would share it anyway. A little view behind the curtain at one of the pieces I’m not sure I would call a success. I’ll put it away and look at it again in a month or two, though it may end up in the collage pile. We’ll see.

I hope this does not portend another dry spell, because I’ve plenty of inspiring photos to work from after our recent trips. I guess I’m not sure what I want to do next. I’ll just have to head up to the studio and see where my art takes me next.

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