Bittersweet Season

TM8912 Bittersweet Season 44x36 oil on panel

TM8912 Bittersweet Season 44×36 oil on panel

In autumn the invasive bittersweet vine spreads its orange berries through the woods and field edges. I have mixed feelings about it. It is beautiful, and its twiny branches and brilliant berries are wonderful in seasonal decorations. But oh does it spread, spiralling out of control and choking native species. Never the less, I feel compelled to pay it homage. So here it is – Bittersweet Season, injecting cheery orange into the quiet tones of late fall. Details below. Enjoy.

TM8912 Bittersweet Season - detail from lower center

TM8912 Bittersweet Season – detail from lower center

TM8912 Bittersweet Season - detail looking at overcast sky through trees

TM8912 Bittersweet Season – detail looking at overcast sky through trees

TM8912 Bittersweet Season - detail from lower center with dense growth of bittersweet vine

TM8912 Bittersweet Season – detail from lower center with dense growth of bittersweet vine

Technical painting notes: I began the painting with a base layer of rolled oil paint, selectively wiped, scraped and spritzed with mineral spirits to create interesting textures. I used glazes and flat watercolor brushes to add color and block in the sky and trees. However, the result felt too controlled. Bittersweet is rampant by nature, and the painting needed to have the same energy. I also wanted to experiment with palette knife and scraping into wet paint, much as I have done in my small 6×6 Into the Woods Series. So the knife and silicone scraper came out, and I used both liberally, mixing my paint with Liquin so it would be juicy. The result feels more like the woods, in all its controlled chaos.

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