August Afternoons

TM8729 August Afternoons 36x60 oil on panel

TM8729 August Afternoons 36×60 oil on panel

August Afternoons could have been called Meditation on Floating Pine Needles, like its earlier cousin. It’s a reverie based on tranquil summer afternoons at my favorite pond, watching the pine needles float by on a slow current as the sun slowly lowers. Late sunlight glances into the water and shimmers on some of the tree trunks, a warm counterpoint to the deepening shadows. My pond is ringed by a wooded ridge, and evening whispers its presence early.Details below, along with notes on the process used to create the painting. Enjoy.

TM8729 August Afternoons - detail from upper right quadrant showing layered base textures overpainted with glazes and spatter

TM8729 August Afternoons – detail from upper right quadrant showing layered base textures overpainted with glazes and spatter

TM8729 August Afternoons - detail from upper left quadrant with pine needles and foliage reflections

TM8729 August Afternoons – detail from upper left quadrant with pine needles and foliage reflections

TM8729 August Afternoons - detail from lower left showing use of layered fine spatter, scraped and painted pine needles

TM8729 August Afternoons – detail from lower left showing use of layered fine spatter, scraped and painted pine needles

TM8729 August Afternoons - close-up showing tree branches reflected in pond

TM8729 August Afternoons – close-up showing tree branches reflected in pond

TM8729 August Afternoons - detail from lower left quadrant with reflections

TM8729 August Afternoons – detail from lower left quadrant with reflections

TM8729 August Afternoons - detail fro lower right quadrant with shadowed and sunlit reflections in water

TM8729 August Afternoons – detail from lower right quadrant with shadowed and sunlit reflections in water

TM8729 August Afternoons - detail from upper right quadrant with tree and sky reflections, floating leaves, and pine needles

TM8729 August Afternoons – detail from upper right quadrant with tree and sky reflections, floating leaves, and pine needles

Technical painting notes: I started the painting one year ago, establishing the overall composition and textures using a roll of oil paint (soft rubber brayer) and my usual “kit” of monoprint techniques – wiping,  scraping, and blotted spatter. I used more oil than usual to lengthen the “open” time (that time before the paints get sticky, when the paint can be easily pushed and wiped, scraped away and re-rolled). It took a year for the base layer to dry sufficiently to start painting again. I glazed the surface, manipulating different colors and scraped away the glaze to suggest shadowed pine needles (lower left). The negative spaces of reflected sky were blocked in next, then the foliage patterns in brighter green were painted. Many glazes later, the darker branches were defined, then the sunlit tree trunks.  I started to add the orange pine needles and scattering of bright green leaves. More glazes add depth to the color, and subtle layers of spatter gave a feeling of dust on the pond’s surface.

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