WORK IN PROGRESS, the under painting, 30x40
It's been three months since I've been at the easel to paint. Family issues have kept me away. If you've had a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia you'll know what I mean.
I have been busy with creative pursuits though. I mean what would I do without my art? I just didn't have the energy or focus to be working on large scale pieces these past few months. But I have been doing a great deal of sketchbook work, block prints, mono-prints and other fun things to keep me happy!
I've been having so much fun with those things that I've set up a new blog just for my sketchbook, illustration and design work. If you have a moment check it out! It's a happy place The Sketchbook Hypothesis: making art makes you happy
If you're on Facebook you can find the The Sketchbook Hypothesis there too!
Painting Trees and Rocks
I'm back to painting trees and rocks and continuing on with my Woodlands series. Trees and rocks are both fascinating to me. Trees can somehow find a way to grow in the most inhospitable locations, they bend in the storm, survive droughts, offer their canopies as shelter for birds and other wildlife, produce fruit and nuts, send their roots down deep to find nourishment in the earth. They leaf out, blossom, blaze with color, go dormant for the winter, then begin the cycle again. They live, they breathe, the grow, and finally they will die. But even in their death their stately form will provide a sanctuary of food and shelter for woodpeckers, flickers and tree swallows, among others.
When I'm painting trees even in this early stage of the painting, I'm thinking about all these things and I'm moving my brush in ways that try to convey all that I feel about the trees, standing tall and reaching towards the sun. I push upwards, twisting and twirling the brush point, allowing the wavering of my hand to make a mark to record the vibrating, surging life of the tree.
Rocks are a different matter all together. On the surface they seem firm, immovable. But I know rocks and I know better. Most of the rocks in Connecticut were born in the far north thousands, even millions of years ago. They were dragged from their homes by an enormous glacier during the last ice age and deposited here when temperatures began to rise, and the glacier melted, 10,000 years ago. The 10,000 years they've been here are less than the blink of an eye in geological time. For me they are like sleeping giants, resting were they were freed from the ice. Though they seem so, they are far from firm or immovable. They are patient, though. Sun and rain, ice and snow, wind and weather will wear them down over time. They will break apart and be scattered over the land. They will become rubble, then sand, and eventually mix into the earth and trees will grow in them.
For now they are big, and firm, patient and long-suffering, enduring all that comes their way. For that reason I paint them with respect, for I wish I were more like them. Each brushstroke is thoughtfully and firmly placed on the canvas while all the while I think of the rocks and their stoic character.
Perspective and Point of View
I'm taken lately with upward looking points of view in my paintings. I'm not sure if that represents the idea of an upward struggle, or if the height is meant to emphasize how dwarfed we are by the forces of nature. In any case it means something, I just haven't unraveled it yet.
I did want to say though, that point of view or your perspective on things is something very important to consider when you are painting. No one sees or feels things exactly like you do and it is important for you to find out what your unique vision of the world is because that's what makes your art valuable.
Check back for more updates on this painting!