A walk in the woods and suddenly you come upon a pond. This discrete view into nature’s heart was obtained during a brief walk at Hamlin Woods before starting my day at the studio. The abstract reflections and intense color were startling. A painting found…and a very abstract one! Welcome to October at the Pond. Enjoy!
Technical painting notes – The painting began in my usual way, brushing transparent colors on a prepared panel with a bristle filbert brush, mostly transparent reddish tones and burnt umber near the top, then greenish umber and sap green below, with patches of red oxide. When the underlayer was dry, I began at the top using a palette knife and assorted grays and whites (mixed with Liquin Impasto) to loosely block in what would become dried grasses at the pond edge. I worked my way down using the knife and medium to refine what I remembered from the woods, with a group of photos for reference. I used a brush to draw in the reflected tree trunks and branches. After a few days working toward detail, I realized I was missing the spirit of the moment, so I went back to working more broadly with a palette knife, layering color over the previous work and softening the surface with a nylon wash brush. With less detail, the abstract underpinnings showed through more brilliantly, I “saw” finally the place I had seen. Additional refinement of the color blocks with glazing and a suggestion of reflected trunks came next, along with picking out a few small details in the grass edge with a super sharp, nylon detail brush.
I’ve found that some paintings can only be achieved with a false start. The painting begins, you realize it needs something drastic, and the process of sanding, wiping out, or obliterating the image becomes the key to achieving the effects you needed. It’s a slow and sometimes painful process, but one that can yield some of the most interesting work.