August 23, 2011 - Aspen Trees Step-By-Step

The changing colours of its fruit
Have dowered the stars with merry light;
The surety of its hidden root
Has planted quiet in the night . . .


- W.B. Yeats

In this entry, and probably the next, I shall detail a love story. For those who like spoilers, here's how it ends:


Okay, I confess, it was an arranged marriage that grew into a love story. I was under deadline for a size-large painting to run across two canvases. Several grand plans for clever compositions failed to gel, one after another, while the clock ticked down.  As I dipped one toe into the panic pool via phone, my genius mother -- a highly accomplished artist herself -- suggested, "Paint trees. They are vertical, everybody loves them, and they go really fast."

Inwardly, I gasped in horror. After all, wasn't my very last blog entry about painting with soul? How, then, could I face compromising the ambition to meditate, contemplate, and connect with every subject?

Easily, it turned out, when you're whining to your mother from the playground on a fine Sunday afternoon and the artwork is due for delivery on Thursday morning.

So, immediately upon returning home, I handed a foam brush to my toddler with a promise that we'd be painting in color today.

"Hep Mom payn! [help Mom paint!]" she chortled with delight, twirling around and around with the foam brush. Excellent;  that's exactly the kind of enthusiasm that I needed!

We laid out the canvases in the garage, and my little one merrily "hepped" me prime them. Then she took a very great interest in the mixing of cerulean blue and white gesso, and again "hepped" me swirl in both colors for a high, clear, cool autumn sky.

At this point, happily, her attention span, our paint, and my patience all ran out at the same time. (Baths, also, were desperately needed.)  After tucking her into bed on Sunday evening, I completed very washy underpainting of burnt umber, ultramarine blue, and Indian yellow:



Then, just before bed, I did my traditional value sketch in hopes that my my brain would work overnight on the exact method needed to alchemize scumbles into trees:


More to come in the next entry.

1 comment:

Approachable Art said...

I love your blog, absolutely lovely. Can't wait to read more of your "love story"!