Thursday, June 25, 2015

Residency #1: Tuesday, June 23, Morning at the Ceremony Hill Trail

Sunny, but I was in the shade.

I've tried to get back to this trail ever since Betty showed it to us on the third day I was here. That day was a hot day. It was in the high 80's. The trail wasn't long, but it ended with an ascent that left me sweaty at 8:15 in the morning, and with no reward of the promised view. The trees were all leafed out; all we saw were leaves.

However, there was a smallish swamp at the low point in the trail that had a Zen effect. It reminded me of a Japanese painting. Lovely and quiet, simplicity of design, very simple color scheme. That seen was locked in my head, and I knew I wanted to try painting it. I'd forgotten what Frank LaLumia had told me in 2004, "The simplest things are the hardest." And it this case, it was the actual gesture and calligraphy of the leaves that escaped me.

Below is the block in for my 12x9" painting. This was my last panel of that size. It was one that Doreen had given to me with a very smooth surface. After all the drag of the cotton RayMar panels, which I think I've finally come to understand, it was hard to control.

I just couldn't make the painting work. I started with a tone of transparent red oxide and Gamblin's solvent free quick drying medium. I'd hoped that it would tack up a little and give me some grab, but . . . Sigh.

My biggest problem was just getting the stark elegance of the grasses that suited me, and which was more representative of the way the grasses actually grew. I worked for about two hours, but wasn't pleased with the painting. The best idea would have been to scrape away the paint and leave just a blurred ghost image to work back into on another day. But, the weather report had been saying rain most of the week.

Still, weather men lie, and we've been thrilled to have had two great days of sunshine! Today, Thursday, June 25, another promised nice day. So maybe, I go back to this swamp again and rework the painting.

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