Looking for a way in….

The woods around me are not ancient. The land was primarily farmland until the early twentieth century, so the trees can be quite young, saplings really, stretching and dancing in the sun and breeze. Even in the more mature woods, the going can still be tough as there are thickets, swamps, and poison ivy to avoid. I’ve been thinking about the density of it all – how to paint it. These small paintings are studies of density and thickets, places where the way in is missing.

Technical painting notes: I’ve been trying different rag papers, some with a shellac primer and some with an acrylic gesso primer, trying to see how the texture of the primer and the paper affects the look of the painting. The brushmarks from the gesso can be interesting when they show through, but the surface is more slick and the paint slides around (this does allow for some nice “skips”). The shellac primer disappears into the paper, allowing the paper to grip the paint. While I prefer the smoother papers, a cold press watercolor paper does enhance the textural possibilities – even if it is aggressive.

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